Daily Current Affairs - 16-02-2021

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has appointed Preeti Sinha as its Executive Secretary. She is an Indian-origin investment and development banker.

Highlights

About United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

The UNCDF was established in the year 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly to promote the economic development across the world. It is headquartered in New York. The organisation helps in providing the micro-finance access to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It also has the mandate to unlock full potential of public and private finance. The organisation makes public and private finance work for the poor in 47 least developed countries (LDCs) of the world.

Least developed countries (LDCs)

It is a list of developing countries that shows the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development. The list is prepared by the United Nations. The countries with the lowest Human Development Index ratings across the world are listed in the LDCs. This concept was originated in 1960s.  The UN has listed the first group of LDCs in its resolution 2768 (XXVI) that was passed in 1971.

The Tata Electronics has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government in order to establish a facility to manufacture the mobile components.

Key Highlights

Tata Group

It is an Indian multinational conglomerate. The company is headquartered in Mumbai. It was Founded in the year 1868 by Jamsetji Tata. The company is one of the biggest and oldest industrial groups of India. Each of the Tata company is operating independently under its own board of directors and shareholders. The companies affiliated under the Tata include Tata Communications, Tata Chemicals, Tata Consumer Products, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Tata Elxsi, Taj Air, Tata Power, Jamshedpur FC, Tanishq, Tata Steel, Voltas, Tata Projects Limited, Tata Cliq, Tata Capital, Titan, Trent, Indian Hotels Company Limited, Cromā and Tata Starbucks and Vistara.

Grasim Industries Limited

It is an Indian manufacturing company. It is headquartered in Mumbai. The company was ranked 154th in the list of world’s best regarded firms compiled by Forbes. It was established in the year 1947 as a textile manufacturer. The work of the company is diversified into Viscose Staple Fibre, sponge iron, cement, chemicals and Diversified Financial Services. It is a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group. The industry is the world’s largest producer of viscose rayon fibre that accounts for 24% of the market share.

S. Theodore Baskaran who is a writer, a historian, a naturalist and an activist has won the Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award, 2020. The award was instituted by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Why he won the award?

Theodore Baskaran was chosen for the award in the light of his dedication to the wildlife conservation. He won the award for his writing prowess in English and Tamil contributing towards the conservation discourse. He was also chosen for the award in the backdrop of inspiring the young naturalists.

About S. Theodore Baskaran

Theodore on Conservation

Theodore is of the view that any conservation initiative should be in local language in order to gain momentum as a people’s movement. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award (Iyal Virudhu) for his writing on nature in Tamil. The award was given by the Canada Literary Garden in the year 2014 at Toronto.

Books by him

Some of his books in English language include- Dance of the Sarus: Essays of a Wandering Naturalist; Book of Indian Dogs and A Day with the Shama: Essays on Nature.

The Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, has launched the e-Chhawani portal on February 16, 2021.

E-Chhawani Project

Cantonment Board

The cantonment board is a civic administration body. It functions under the Ministry of Defence in India. The board is constituted of the elected members, ex-officio members and nominated members in accordance with the Cantonments Act, 2006. The member of the board is elected for five years. The board comprises of the eight elected members and three nominated military members. It also comprises of the three ex-officio members namely, the garrison engineer, station commander and the senior executive medical officer besides one representative from the district magistrate.

Categories of Cantonments board

The cantonments are categorised into four categories:

The Union External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar recently said that the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is in the final stages however, the project was delayed because of various challenges.

Highlights

Background

The Kaladan project which costs $484 million was supposed to be completed and operation by 2014.

Kaladan Road Project

It is a US$484 million project that connects the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Rakhine State, Myanmar through the sea route. The project will link the Sittwe seaport in Myanmar to Paletwa in Chin State through the Kaladan river boat route. Then the project will connect the Paletwa by road route to the Mizoram in Northeast India. Currently, the Sittwe port, river dredging and Paletwa jetty projects are completed. This project is also seen as an important component of India’s Act East Policy that seeks to link up India with Southeast Asia through Myanmar.

Why this project got delayed?

The route of the project along the Paletwa and Kaladan river is troubled because of the Chin conflict and the Rohingya conflict.  It is also troubled because of militant groups like Arakan Army. Because of these conflicts the project got delayed. Paletwa route accounts for less than 20 km along the Bangladesh border.

Sittwe

It is the capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar. The city is located on an estuarial island. It lies at the confluence of rivers Kaladan, Mayu, and Lay Mro.

The Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been appointed as the head the World Trade Organization. She has become the first woman to take this position. She has also become the first African to hold this charge amid rising protectionism.

Highlights

Background

Why US blocked the appointment?

The US government had blocked the appointment by arguing that the world trade organization is slow-moving and bureaucratic. The government also highlighted that it is ill-equipped to handle the problems posed by the state-dominated economy of China.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

It is an intergovernmental organization. The body deals with the regulation of international trade between the nations. It was established in January 1995 in accordance with the Marrakesh Agreement.

Marrakesh Agreement

This agreement was signed after the Marrakesh Declaration in April 1994. It was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco. The agreement was signed by 123 nations in April 1994. The Marrakesh Agreement had replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  The agreement is supplemented by agreements on issues like sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights etc.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually lay the foundation stone of the Maharaja Suheldev Memorial on February 16, 2021. Apart from that, the foundation stone for the development work of Chittaura Lake in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh will also be laid down.

Key Facts

Statue of Maharaja Suheldev

The foundation stone of the Statue of Maharaja Suheldev will also be laid down by the Prime Minister in Bahraich. The foundation stone will be laid down in order to mark the birth anniversary of Suheldev.

Background

A statue of Suheldev was also unveiled earlier in February 2016 by the then BJP Chief time Amit Shah.  He had also launched a book on him. The central government also released a stamp and started a running superfast train in the name of Suheldev.

Who was Suheldev?

He was an Indian king from Shravasti. He is popular because he defeated and killed Ghaznavid general Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud. He defeated the Ghaznavid general at Bahraich in 1034 CE. Suheldev also finds mention in the 17th century Mirat-i-Masudi which is a Persian-language historical romance. The Hindi nationalist groups characterize him as a Hindu King who had defeated the Muslim invader.

Bahraich

It is a city and a municipal board in Uttar Pradesh. The city is located on the Saryu River which is a tributary of Ghaghara river. The city share an international border with Nepal.

The Rajasthan government has amended the Rajasthan Prison Rules, 1951 recently. The move was aimed to do away with the caste-based assignment of labour.

Highlights

What are the amendments?

  1. Rule 67 under Section 2– This rule comprises norms regarding the “cooking of food”. The rule earlier read as “any Brahmin or sufficiently high caste Hindu prisoner from this class is eligible for appointment as cook”. Amendment has been made that now reads as “No inmate shall be selected for cooking on the basis of his caste or religion.”
  2. Rule 13 of Section I of Part 10- This section comprises of the restriction on the employment of convicts as tradesman- This section of the rule earlier stated that,
  1. Rule 17, Clause (d) of Section 1 in Part 15: This section defines a habitual offender as “any member of a criminal tribe subject to the discretion of the Government”. The clause (d) has now been deleted.

The Union telecom ministry has decided to set up an intelligence unit and a consumer protection system. These systems will be set up in the effort to tackle the threats associated with the pesky calls. It would also help in taking strict action against the financial frauds that happens using telecom resources.

Background

The union telecom ministry decided to set up such system following a direction from the telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The minister chaired a high-level meeting to find ways in order to address the rising concerns of consumers regarding the unsolicited messages on mobile phones, harassment through SMS pertaining to loan transactions in fraudulent ways. This move of the government aims to making digital transactions more safe and secure.

Stricter norms

What is the plan?

Following the direction of ministry, a nodal agency called Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) will be set up. It will be tasked to coordinate with various Law Enforcement Agencies, financial institutions and telecom service providers in order to investigate any fraudulent activity that involves the telecom resources. Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) system will also be created at the level of license service area. Thus, the system will help in strengthening the trust of people in the digital ecosystem which in turn will promote the Digital India mission.

Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)

Any Commercial Communication that a subscriber opts not to receive are called UCC. However, it does not include any transactional message or any message transmitted as per the directions of Central Government or State Government or any agencies authorized by the government.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently released its data on the Bank Credit and Deposits.

Key findings

Bank Credit

It refers to the amount of credit which is available for a business or individual from any banking institution. It is credited in the form of loans. Thus, the total amount of money that a person or business can borrow from any bank or the financial institution is called Bank Credit. The bank credit of the borrower depends upon their ability to repay the loans. It also depends upon the total amount of credit available by the banks or financial institutions to lend. Car loans, personal loans and mortgages are the examples of bank credit.

The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, has inaugurated the first route and terminal buildings of Kochi Water Metro.

Key facts

IURWT Project

It is an Integrated Urban Regeneration and water transport system project. It has been proposed for the development of the Edappally Canal (11.23 km), Chilavanoor Canal (9.88 km), Thevara – Perandoor Canal (11.15 km), Market Canal (0.664 km) and Thevara Canal (1.405 km) in Kochi. All these canals are highly silted and polluted because of domestic & commercial waste, construction waste etc. Under the IURWT project activities such as, Cleaning of Canals, Bank Protection, Dredging & Cutting, Sanitary Sewer Line & STP, Jetties and Reconstruction of Cross Structures and Foot Over Bridges will be carried away. The total cost of the project is Rs.1418 crores. It has been launched for the period of 10 years. The project related construction will be completed in 3 years.

The mass nesting of the Olive Ridley turtles has finally began in Puducherry coastline. Though, the traditional migration season of the turtles has delayed possibly due to climate change or change in the climatic conditions because of the influence of Cyclones Nivar and Burevi. Now, the female Olive Ridley turtles are leaving hundreds of eggs at nesting spots. So far, the team has collected over 4,000 eggs.

Key Facts

The Olive Ridley

The scientific name of the turtle is Lepidochelys olivacea. It is commonly known as Pacific ridley sea turtle. The species belongs to the family Cheloniidae. It is second smallest and most abundant among all the sea turtles found across the world. The turtles are found in warm and tropical waters. It is primarily found in Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is also found in the warm waters of Atlantic Ocean.

Characteristics

These turtles are best known for their unique mass nesting. The mass nesting is termed as arribada. In the process, the female turtles come together in huge number on the same beach and lay eggs. They lay their eggs in conical nests which is one and a half feet deep. The nests are laboriously dig by the turtles with their hind flippers. These turtles are carnivorous and they prey on jellyfish, sea urchins, tunicates, snails, bryozoans, bivalves, crabs and shrimp etc.

Conservation

The turtles have been classified as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES. These listings have halted the large-scale commercial exploitation and trade of the skin of turtles.

India has liberalised its regulations on geospatial data starting from February 15, 2021. It has now allowed the private companies to conduct surveying and mapping without getting government approvals in advance.

About New Policy

  1. The new policy has allowed to share the data for various applications ranging from the logistics and transport to road safety and e-commerce.
  2. Further, the geospatial data generating from government agencies like Survey of India and Indian Space Research Organisation will be made available to public and private companies.
  3. It also restricts the terrestrial mapping and survey to public and private Indian entities.

Significance

Objectives of guidelines

The new guidelines have been framed with the objectives of:

Geospatial data

It is also known as spatial data. It is used to describe those data which represents the features or objects on the surface of Earth. It can be both man-made or natural data.