India is going to launch its first-ever diesel tractor that has been converted to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) on February 12, 2021.
The CNG Tractor will be formally launched by Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways.
The conversion of the Diesel tractor into the CNG tractor was carried out jointly by Rawmatt Techno Solutions and Tomasetto Achille India.
The conversion of the diesel to CNG will help the farmers to increase their income.
It will lower the costs and help to create job opportunities for the people living in rural India.
The CNG tractor will also help the farmer to save more than one lakh rupees on the costs of fuel annually.
This in turn will help the farmers to improve their livelihood.
Benefits of converting a tractor to CNG
The benefits of converting the tractor to CNG with respect to farmers are:
This retrofitted CNG tractor produces more power or equal when compared to the diesel-run engine.
The CNG tractor will reduce the overall emissions by 70 per cent as compared to the emission by the diesel tractors.
CNG tractor would also help farmers to save up to 50 per cent of the fuel cost.
Significance of CNG
CNG is a clean fuel. The carbon content in the CNG is the lowest among all the fuels. It is economical because of zero lead in it. It is non-corrosive, non-dilutive and non-contaminating in nature. These properties help to increase the life of the engine. Further, the fuel requires less regular maintenance.
The New Development Bank (NDB) has announced to invest $100 million into the NIIF Fund of Funds (FoF).
With the NDB’s investment of $100 million, the NIIF FoF has now secured $800 million in commitments.
NDB has joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Government of India (GoI) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an investor in the NIIF FoF.
The investment by the NDB is the first equity investment by it into India. It is also the first-ever investment into a Fund of Funds by the NDB.
NIIF Fund of Funds (FoF)
The FoF was established in the year 2018. It was established with the objective of providing the access of the homegrown Indian private equity fund managers to the institutional investor that operates at scale with focus on India. The FOF has made commitments to four funds till date. The aggregate commitment stands over ₹2,750 crore.
National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)
It is India’s first infrastructure specific investment fund. It is also called as a sovereign wealth fund. This fund was set up by the Government of India in February 2015. It was set up with the objective of maximizing the economic impact through infrastructure investment in both Greenfield and Brownfield projects which are commercially viable.
New Development Bank (NDB)
It was earlier known as the BRICS Development Bank. NDB is a multilateral development bank that was established by the BRICS nations namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The bank supports the public or private projects through loans, guarantees and equity participation.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
This bank was established with the aim to improve the economic and social outcomes in the Asia region. It currently has 103 members and 21 prospective members from across the world. The bank started operation on December 25, 2015.
The world celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science every year on the 11th day of February. The year 2021 marked the 6th International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The day was celebrated under the theme “Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19″.
The event was held at the United Nations Headquarters through video conferencing.
The event marked the role of women who were at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.
The event also marked the discussion on the important part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development namely the gender equality and science.
About the Day
The International Day of Women and Girls in was started being observed by the United Nations through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly that was passed on December 22, 2015.
The day is celebrated to recognise the critical role that women and girls play in the field of science and technology.
This day is implemented by UNESCO and UN Women.
Various intergovernmental agencies, institutions and civil society partners collaborates with the UNESCO and UN Women.
The day is observed with the aim to promote women and girls in science.
It seeks to promote full and equal access to women and girls for participation in science.
The UNESCO data for the year 2014-2016 states that, only around 30 per cent of all female students select the STEM-related fields for the higher education. Enrolment of female students is lower in natural sciences, mathematics and statistics across the world when compared with the men. Women are unable to move ahead in the science and technology sector due to gender biases and lack of representation.
A Chinese spacecraft named Tianwen-1 has successfully entered the orbit around Mars on February 10, 2021.
The probe entered the MARS Orbit after making the journey of 6 and a half month from the Earth.
This mission is China’s first independent mission on the red planet.
After reaching near to the orbit, robotic probe initiated and completed its 15-minute burn of the thrusters.
Burning of the thrusters slowed down the speed of the spacecraft so that it could be captured by the gravity pull of the MARS.
Objective of the mission
Tianwen-1 mission will attempt to send a landing capsule which is carrying a 240-kilogram rover in a rapid seven-minute descent. The rover will be sent to the northern hemisphere of Mars called as Utopia Planitia.
After the rover is landed successfully, the solar-powered rover will be exploring the Martian surface for 90 days.
The rover will study the soil and study if any signs of ancient life, is present there.
It would also trace the sub-surface water and ice using the ground-penetrating radar.
Tianwen-1 is an interplanetary mission by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Under the mission, the CNSA sent a robotic spacecraft to Mars. The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a deployable camera, a lander and a rover. The spacecraft was successfully launched on July 23, 2020 from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site. It was launched from a Long March 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle. The spacecraft has been named Tianwen-1 means “Questions to Heaven” following the Chinese poem that was written two millennia ago. It is China’s first independent MARS mission after its probe that was co-launched with Russia failed in the year 2011.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has announced to launch ‘NPCI PayAuth Challenge’. It is a global-level hackathon that will be organised to get the alternatives of the authentication of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions. One such alternative options is the use of biometric while making transactions.
NPCI PayAuth Challenge hackathon is supported by APIX.
APIX is the first cross-border and open architecture API marketplace of the world besides being a sandbox platform.
Sandbox platform is used to test or run the programs without impacting the application for which the test is being conducted.
NPCI PayAuth Challenge
This hackathon is being organised with the objective of exploring the feasibility of alternative payment authentication mechanisms.
It also seeks to study about the user behaviour towards the authentication mechanisms.
The motive is to find the alternate solutions such as Biometric verification and similar innovations in order to authorise the payments on the UPI platform.
To explore the options, the NPCI have invited the Fintech, solution providers and developers to submit their unique solutions. The solution should be simple and should integrate the innovative technology into UPI.
The hackathon will be a global contest for individuals and enterprises. It will offer the technology solutions in payments which are especially suited for start-ups.
The hackathon also provides participants an opportunity to work with NPCI to develop a solution that could change the Digital Payments landscape in India. It has kept a prize money of $20,000 for the winner and the runner up of the challenge will get $10,000. Apart from that, the other winning teams will be getting the opportunity to work on a Proof of Concept (PoC) with NPCI.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation. It operates the retail payments and settlement systems in India. It was established in 2008 by the Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks’ Association. It is registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched the Financial Literacy Week (FLW) for the year 2021. The literacy week started from February 8 and it will conclude on February 12, 2021.
Financial Literacy Week (FLW)-2021
This year, the Financial Literacy week will focus on ‘Developing the credit discipline and encouraging availing of the credit from the formal financial institutions as it is required’.
During the week, similar activities will be conducted all across the country.
Some special financial literacy programs will also be organized by all the banks and financial literacy centres on the selected subjects.
In the year 2021, this year the bank is organising the week to spread awareness regarding the credit facilities which are provided by the bank. This topic was chosen by the bank because credit score is an important issue of the banking sector.
Through this programme, the banks will spread awareness about various types of credit or loan facilities including the home loan, business loan, vehicle loan and Kisan Credit Card etc.
The financial literacy week is organised by the central bank since 2016.
This event is organised by the bank to spread awareness in the people on different issues with respect to the banking services.
In the year 2020, the FLW focussed on the ‘Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’.
In the year 2020, the event was organised to raise awareness among the people about the formalisation, discounting of receivables,rehabilitation of stressed units, collateral free loan, and timely repayment of the loan. It also organised a month-long centralized mass media campaign.
In the year 2019, it focused on Farmers’ while in the year 2018 it focussed on ‘Consumer Protection’.
Bank of India (BoI)
During the FLW-2021, the BoI will be organising 75 campaigns . It will be organised in 15 districts of Jharkhand.
The President of United States, Joe Biden, announced sanctions on the military leaders in Myanmar on February 10, 2021.
The sanctions were put by the Biden’s administration in order to prevent the Myanmar’s generals from accessing the $1 billion of government funds which is held in the US.
The government would identify the first round of sanctions targets and impose the export controls.
Biden also asked the Myanmar military to release detainees immediately.
Why Sanctions have been put?
The Biden administration has put the sanctions on military leaders in Myanmar in the backdrop of Military rule in Myanmar.
Military Rule in Myanmar
The military in Myanmar took over the control in the country and announced one-year state of emergency on February 1, 2021. The military also detained the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other government leaders. This step was taken by the military in the backdrop of victory of Suu Kyi’s party in election that was held in November 2020. The military took over the country as it found the victory a result of frauds. Following that, the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement has been started in opposition to the military’s takeover.
How did military get the power?
The state emergency was announced after the Suu Kyi’s government was failed in tackling the situation of the country amid the Corona Pandemic. Despite that, the Suu Kyi’s party won the election again in November 2020. Thus, the military took over in the country in accordance with the Article 417 of the Myanmar’s constitution. This article gives power to the military to take over the country in times of emergency. The military had framed the constitution of Myanmar in 2008. Thus the military retains the power under the charter at the expense of democratic and the civilian rule.
The Indian Government on February 11, 2021 have categorically warned the Social Media platforms from the Rajya Sabha. The government said it will take action against Social Media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, if fake news and violence is spread through it.
While warning these platforms the Union Minister of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that though there is freedom of speech but Article 19A states this right is subject to reasonable restrictions.
He further said, India respects social media since it has empowered common people. It also plays a major role in Digital India programme. But, if these platforms are misused to spread fake news and violence, then strict action will be taken.
He asked the social media platforms to comply with the constitution of India.
He also said, the Indian constitution allows criticism of the government and the Prime Minister. But it does not allow spreading fake news.
The Indian government also expressed displeasure on Twitter’s delayed compliance regarding its order to remove the provocative tweets on the ongoing farmers’ protests.
The government also warned that the twitter officials in India would be arrested over the Inflammatory content on the platform specially with the hashtag of farmer’s genocide.
The government also said, the platform is not complying with the section 69A of the IT Act.
Section 69A of IT Act
This section gives powers to the authorities to intercept and monitor any information which are generated, transmitted, received or stored in the computer resource if it is necessary to do. This can be done in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India, defence & security of the country and for preventing incitement of any cognizable offence etc. The act also gives power to the government to block internet sites to safeguard the interests of the nation. However, the act does not impose any public emergency restriction for the government.
The “World Pulses Day” is observed on February 10 every year since 2018. This day is dedicated to the importance of pulses. In the year 2021, the day was celebrated under the theme: “Nutritious Seeds for a Sustainable Future.”
On this occasion, big event was held virtually in New York.
The event was held with main focus on raising the awareness and recognizing the contribution of pulses in maintaining the sustainable food systems and healthy diets.
The day comes under the second goal of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal which is “Zero Hunger.”
The day also includes the objectives of the United Nations Agenda 2030.
The day is observed to urge the people to grow the pulses besides its consumption.
Why this day is observed?
Pulses are highly nutritious and it plays a very important part in making the diet healthy for humans. But there are sections of people who do not have access to pulses and there are some people who do not know the nutritional value and health benefits of the pulses. Thus, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations established and dedicated this day in the year 2018 with the aim of increasing the awareness as well as access to pulses.
How this day is celebrated?
On the occasion of the world pulses day, people are requested to consume and donate pulses. They are also asked to raise awareness around them. At many places, people organise the lunches or dinners with having pulses on the menu. Some people get involved in donating pulses to those who do not have access to pulses. On social media, the events which are organised on the day are shared with hashtags like #worldpulsesday, #LovePulses.
The biennial Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX 21) which is the largest wargame of the Indian Navy was started in January 2021. The exercise is still underway and it will end in the third week of February 2021.
The exercise is observing the participation of all operational units of Indian Navy such as submarines, ships and aircraft.
The units of Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard are also participating in the biennial exercise.
The exercise is being held in the Indian Ocean Region and its adjunct waters.
The exercise is being looked by the Naval Headquarters along with the participation of all three Commands of Indian Navy besides the Tri-Services Command.
Aim of the exercise
The exercise is being held with the aim of testing the combat readiness of the Navy for the complex multi-dimensional scenario amid the tight geo strategic environment.
It is also aimed at validating the Indian Navy’s offensive-defence capabilities.
It seeks to safeguard the national interests in maritime domain so as to promote the stability and peace in Indian Ocean Region.
The exercise seeks to Navy’s transition from peacetime to hostilities.
First Phase of the Exercise
In the first phase, exercise ‘Sea Vigil’ was conducted from January 12-13, 2021. The exercise was conducted with the aim of validating the coastal defence setup of India. The exercise was participated by the Indian Navy, Marine Police of 13 coastal States and Union Territories and the Coast Guard, besides the stakeholders in the maritime domain.
The Tri-Service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX-21 was held after the exercise Sea Vigil. It was held in the Andaman and Nicobar from January 21-25, 2021. It was held with the aim of validating India’s capabilities so as to safeguard the territorial integrity of its Islands.
Weapon Workup Phase of TROPEX
This phase observed the multiple on-target ordnance deliveries such as torpedoes, missiles and rockets from frontline aircrafts, warships and submarines. It demonstrated the firepower of the Indian Navy.
The government is all set to launch the website of the India Toy Fair, 2021. The website will be launched on February 11, 2021. It will be launched by the Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi.
About Indian Toy Fair-2021
India’s first ever toy fair (Indian Toy Fair) will be held from February 27 to March 2, 2021.
The fair is being organised by the Ministry of Textiles in association with the Ministry of Education and the ministry of commerce and industry.
It is a virtual event that will be organised with the aim of providing a joyful learning for the children.
The fair would engage the children in teaching, learning and promoting the indigenous toy industry.
Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar Centre for Creative Learning (CCL) has developed over 200 toys to showcase in fair.
Some of the toys are-
Hydralulic JCB controlled using syringes,
Robot made using a DC motor,
Periscope to look beyond the wall,
Easy learning of geometry through lamps.
Explaining textbook trignometry through a sine wave car,
The fair would also comprise of 75 exhibition stalls of the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Ministry of Education, National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL).
The idea to organise a toy fair came from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat address on August 30, 2020. In his address the prime minister highlighted the huge potential of toys market and the opportunities which can be used to promote the indigenous toys.
About Centre for Creative Learning (CCL)
CCL was established in April 2017. It comprises of a team of 10 that nurture the scientific temper and creativity in students and teachers. CCL has created over 200 toys and models to showcase in the virtual event. It is also playing a role of an expert group for the content provider for the toy fair.
The government of India has set up a Nodal Authority in order to frame the Approved Standardised Deep-Sea Fishing Vessels Design and Specifications (ASDDS). It would help the fisheries departments of states to implement the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
ASDDS will provide a framework of minimum basic design parameters. The vessels would be constructed under the prescribed framework.
It will cover the basic design aspects including the Outline Specifications, Basic Calculation, General Arrangement and Basic Structural Drawings.
ASDDS will be prepared by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL).
It will technically be vetted by Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).
The ‘In Principle’ approval will be given by the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS).
Deep-Sea Fishing Vessels (DSFV’s) was also constructed in compliance with the ASDDS.
DSFV was promulgated by the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways.
DSFV will also be eligible for subsidy under the PMMSY scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana
It is a flagship scheme that focuses on the sustainable development of the fisheries sector. It will be implemented for a five-year period. The scheme was launched on April 1, 2020 in all States and Union Territories under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package.
The PMMSY was launched with an estimated investment of Rs 20,050 crores. Out of this amount, an investment of about Rs 12,340 crores is allocated for the beneficiary-oriented activities in Inland fisheries, Marine and Aquaculture. Rs 7,710 crores was allocated for fisheries infrastructure.
The nodal authority will be headed by the director of CIFT. It would also comprise of the representatives from the Naval Architecture Department of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur or IIT Madras; Cochin Shipyard Ltd and the Indian Register of Shipping.
The Union Minister for Steel, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, said in a written reply in Parliament that the Government has given its approval for inclusion of ‘Specialty Steel’ under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.
For this purpose, a 5-year financial outlay of Rs 6322 Cr has also been approved.
This move was taken by the government in order to promote the manufacturing of ‘Specialty Steel’ within the boundary of the country.
The manufacturing can be promoted by attracting the capital investment, promoting the technology up-gradation and by generating employment in steel sector.
This move by the government would help to improve the availability of ‘Specialty Steel’ in India by making the country Atmanirbhar with respect to the domestic demand.
How Price is determined?
In a deregulated and open market scenario, the domestic steel price is determined through the market forces of demand and supply. It also depends upon the trends in prices of raw materials. The price of the steel is also influenced by the global steel trade conditions.
The Production Linked Incentives scheme was launched with the aim to give the companies incentives on their incremental sales from those products which are manufactured in domestic units. This scheme also invites the foreign companies to set units in India. The scheme also seeks to encourage the local companies in order to set up and expand the manufacturing units.
Benefits of PLI Scheme
Coverage of the sectors under the scheme makes the Indian manufacturers globally competitive. It also attracts the investment in the core competency and cutting-edge technology areas. The scheme also ensures the efficiency and creates the economy of scale. The scheme strengthens the exports with the aim of making India a part of global supply chain.
These are also called as alloy steels. They are composed of the additional alloyed materials that results into special properties of the final product. The steels are engineered so as to provide a superior performance under specific conditions