Daily Current Affairs - 23-02-2021

The Horticulture Department of Karnataka will set up a flower processing centre in collaboration with the International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB). The centre will be set up in order to convert the unsold flowers into its useful products.

Key Points

Biodiversity in Karnataka

Flower Production in Karnataka

Lotus is the state flower of Karnataka. Karnataka is the leading state in floriculture. It accounts for 75% of total flower production in India. The state has highest area under modern cut flowers and it comprises of 40 flowers growing and exporting units. The state also has India’s first and only flower auction centre. It has 18,000 hectares of land under flower cultivation. It accounts for 14% of total area under flower cultivation in India.

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) have signed an MoU to promote the Export-Oriented Marine Product.

Highlights

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)

It is a statutory Corporation that was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1963. The corporation was set up with the objective of planning and promoting the programmes related to the production, processing, storage, marketing, export and import of the agricultural produce, industrial goods, foodstuffs, livestock and other notified commodities.

Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)

This authority was established by the Marine Products Export Development Authority Act 1972. It is headquartered at Kochi. The role of the MPEDA ranges from covering fisheries of all kinds, increasing exports, specifying standards, marketing, extension and processing. It functions under the Department of Commerce.

China has again become India’s top trading partner in the year 2020. The reason was that India was still dependent on the import of heavy machines, telecom equipment and home appliances from China.

Highlights

Background

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had banned several Chinese apps and slowed the approvals on investments from China in a bid to make India self-reliant following a deadly clash with China at the Galwan Valley in the disputed Himalayan border.

India-China Relation

The relationship between both the countries has varied over time. Both the countries have sought economic cooperation with each other despite having several conflicts like border disputes and economic nationalism. The modern relationship between India and China began in 1950 when India ended the formal ties with Republic of China (Taiwan). It then recognized People’s Republic of China as legitimate government in the mainland China. Both the countries are two major regional powers in the Asia region.  They are also the fastest growing major economies. The growth in diplomatic and economic arena  has further increased the importance of the bilateral relationship between both the countries.

Bangladesh has become the first country that has banned the painkiller ketoprofen. This painkiller is used widely to treat the cattle. But this painkiller is toxic to vultures.

Highlights

What this ban was put?

The Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) report states that ketoprofen is now widely used as a main anti-inflammatory drug by vets in Bangladesh. But, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac and ketoprofen are a major threat to vultures of South Asia. These drugs led to the catastrophic 99.9 per cent declines of white-rumped vultures in this region.

Steps taken by other countries

Indian government had banned the use of diclofenac for veterinary purpose in the year 2006. However, this step is not that effective since there are other toxic drugs are in use. In the December 2020, Oman became the first country in Arabian Peninsula to ban the veterinary use of diclofenac in order to conserve the endangered species such as vultures.

About Indian Vultures

The scientific name of the vulture is Gyps indicus. This vulture is native to India, Pakistan and Nepal. It breeds in the hilly regions of central and peninsular India. Population of three out of nine Indian species of vultures namely – white-rumped vulture, long-billed vulture and the slender-billed vulture, have declined by 90 percent during the mid-1990s. This, the vulture had been listed since 2002 as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Mumbai will start the first undersea tunnel of India in 2023 which is being constructed as part of Coastal Road project of Mumbai.

Key Facts

Mumbai Coastal Road Project

Challenges

The construction of the tunnel is challenging because it will be built under sea. The major challenges include:

  1. Flow of sea water into the tunnel.
  2. Tunnel will exert pressure of the sea so there will be fear of tunnel caving.

However, the tunnel is being constructed near the coast so it has eased the construction process. Further, all the safety measures are being taken to ensure stability of tunnel.

Recently, a study was published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology that some microbes that are found on Earth might temporarily survive on the Mars.

Highlights

Key Facts about Mars

Stratosphere

This layer lies in between the troposphere and mesosphere. It is the stratified (layered) in temperature. The warmer layers are at height while the cooler layers close to Earth. Ozone Layer is also a part of this layer of atmosphere.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully launched the two indigenously designed and developed Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) on February 22, 2021.

Highlights

Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM)

Features of the missile

The missiles feature the mid-course inertial guidance along with the terminal active radar homing. It will replace the older Barak-1 surface to air missile system.  It will be used as short-range air defence system in the Indian navy and Indian Air Force. Missiles have been developed from 2006 pre-design of Astra Mark 1 comprising of four short-span long-chord wings. But it also comprises additional jet vane driven thrust vector control that enables the quick reaction vertical launch. The missile has a 360° interception capability.

The chief minister of Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa, announced that Karnataka will be hosting the second Khelo India University Games (KIUG) in the year 2021.

Key Points

Khelo India University Games (KIUG)

KIUG 2021

In this event, Yogasana and Mallakhamb have also been added to list of games. It was done with the objective of preserving and promoting the century-old sporting disciplines of India. Organisers expect that, this move will increase the number of participants this year.

Sports Authority of India

It is the apex national sports body that was established in 1982. It was established by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in order to develop the sport in India. It also manages the Netaji Subhash High Altitude Training Centre which is located at Shilaroo in Himachal Pradesh. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Indira Gandhi Arena, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range etc are also managed by the Sports authority of India.

India and Mauritius have signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA). This was first ever trade agreement with any African country. It was signed in the presence of Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth and the external affairs minister of India, S Jaishankar.  CECPA was approved by the Indian Cabinet on February 17, 2021. It will come into effect from March, 2021.

Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA)

Significance of the agreement

This is the first trade agreement that India signed after it launched “Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Initiative”. Also, this was the first ever agreement that India signed with any African Nation where China has its economic dominance. Thus, this pact becomes significant as a counter to China. Further, the pact will set stage for more such pacts with other African Nations.

India-Mauritius Trade relation

The Bilateral trade between India and Mauritius have increased from $207 million in 2005-06 to $690 million in the Financial Year 2020. This accounts for 233% increase in the trade. Also, India’s exports to Mauritius have increased from $199 million to $662 million in the same period. It accounts for 232% increase. On the other hand, India’s imports from Mauritius have just increased from $7 million to almost $28 million.

The IIT Council, which is the apex decision-making body of IITs. has set up four panels for autonomy on February 22, 2021. The panel will look after several issues ranging from funding to graded autonomy in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Highlights

Four committees of IIT council

The four committees have been constituted based on the recommendation of Chairman of the Standing Committee for IIT Council. They were constituted on understated issues in accordance with the National Education Policy-2020:

  1. Group-1: Graded Autonomy, Empowered & accountable BoG and Director;
  2. Group-2: Grooming distinguished academics for directorship of IITs;
  3. Group-3: Reform and restructuring of Academic Senate;
  4. Group-4: Innovative funding mechanisms.

IIT Council

The Council of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT Council) is the governing body. This body is  responsible and accountable for all the Indian Institutes of Technology in India.  In this council, Chairman happens to be the minister-in-charge of the technical education in the Union Government. The council also comprises of three Members of Parliament, Joint Council Secretary of Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Chairman of all IITs, Directors of all IITs, Chairman of University Grants Commission, three appointees from the Union Government, AICTE, Chairman of IISc and Director of IISc.

The United States space agency, NASA, released the first audio from Mars on February 22, 2021. It was a faint crackling recording of the wind that was captured by Perseverance rover.

Highlights

Background

NASA had launched the Perseverance rover on July 30, 2020. The mission landed on MARS on February 18, 2021. The prime mission is of just over two years however it will remain operational beyond that. The Predecessor of the Perseverance, Curiosity, is still functioning that was launched eight years back on Mars.

About Perseverance

This rover equals the size of an SUV and it weighs a ton. The rover was also equipped with a seven-foot-long robotic arm. It comprises of 19 cameras, 2 microphones and a suite of cutting-edge instruments. The mission was launched with the objective of collecting 30 rocks and soil samples in a sealed tube that will be sent back to Earth in the 2030s for lab analysis. It will determine whether MARS was actually inhabited in the past. The first sample drilling will begin this year in summer. In the process, it will  be deploying new instruments in order to scan the organic matter, zap rocks to study vapour and map chemical composition.

The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, has launched the operational guidelines to Integrate the Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) with National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Concerns

Once the NAFLD develops, there is no specific cure for it. However, health promotion & prevention aspects which targets to the weight reduction, healthy lifestyle and control of risk factors are mainstays for the progression & prevention of the mortality & morbidity caused due to NAFLD.

Preventive measures

India has become the first country in the world that has identify the need for action to control NAFLD. Following measures are being taken by the government as a preventive measure:

National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)

This programme was launched in the year 2010 so as to prevent and control major NCDs. The programme focuses on human resource development, strengthening the infrastructure, early diagnosis, health promotion, management and referral. Under this, NCD Cells are being established at National, State and District levels to manage the programme. The programme is also establishing the NCD Clinics at the District and CHC levels for early diagnosis and treatment.

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for February 23, 2021

INDIA

PM inaugurates several projects in Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation INDMAX Unit at Indian Oil’s Bongaigaon Refinery, Oil India Limited’s Secondary Tank Farm at Madhuban, Dibrugarh and a Gas Compressor Station at Hebeda Village, Makum, Tinsukia remotely from Dhemaji in Assam on February 22, 2021. He also inaugurated the Dhemaji Engineering College and laid the foundation stone for Sualkuchi Engineering College in Assam.

PM inaugurates several projects in West Bengal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 22, 2021 inaugurated the 4.1 km extension of Metro Railway from Noapara to Dakshineswar in West Bengal and flagged off the first service on this stretch. He also inaugurated the third line between Kalaikunda and Jhargram.  He dedicated the fourth line between Dankuni and Baruipara and the third line between Rasulpur & Magra and the doubling of Azimganj to Khagraghat Road section which is a part of Howrah-Bandel-Azimganj section of Eastern Railway.

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar visits Mauritius

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar handed over one lakh additional doses of commercially procured Made in India COVID vaccines to Mauritius. India had earlier sent one lakh doses vaccines to the island nation. India also signed a landmark Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius. A special 100 million-US Dollar Defence Line of Credit has also been signed which will enable the procurement of defence assets from India as per the needs of Mauritius.

Puducherry CM V. Narayanasamy resigns after losing confidence vote

Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy of Congress and his cabinet colleagues in the union territory resigned on February 22, 2021 after the government lost the confidence vote sought by him in the face of its depleted strength of 11 against opposition’s 14 in the House.

DRDO conducts 2 successful launches of VL-SRSAM developed for Indian Navy

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted two successful launches of Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM). The launches were carried out on February 22, 2021 from a static vertical launcher from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. Indigenously designed and developed by DRDO for Indian Navy, VL-SRSAM is meant for neutralizing various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets.

Airport in Ayodhya will be named Maryada Purushottam Sriram Airport: UP Govt.

The under-construction airport in Ayodhya will be named Maryada Purushottam Sriram Airport, Ayodhya after Lord Ram and a provision of Rs 101 crore has been made for it in the budget presented in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on February 22, 2021.

Pune International Centre to co-chair Asia Economic Dialogue with MEA in Feb

The Pune International Centre will co-chair this year’s Asia Economic Dialogue that will be addressed by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his counterparts from Japan, Australia, Maldives, Mauritius and Bhutan. It will bee co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs the Asia Economic Dialogue will be held over three days from February 26 and its theme is ‘The post-COVID global trade and finance dynamics’.

BJP candidates win both Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates Dineshchamdra Jemalbhai Ananvadiya and Rambhai Harjibhai Mokariya won both Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat on February 22, 2021. The seats had fallen vacant following the demise of Congress MP Ahmed Patel and BJP MP Abhay Ganpatray Bhardwaj.

Lt Gen B S Raju to be new Director General of Military Operations of Indian Army

Lt Gen B S Raju, the General-Officer-Commanding of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, will be the new Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army. Lt Gen Raju, who has extensive experience in counter-terror operations, will succeed Lt Gen Paramjit Singh who has taken charge as Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (strategy).

Mohan Delkar (58), Lok Sabha MP from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, dies in Mumbai

Mohan Delkar (58), seven-term Lok Sabha member from Dadra and Nagar Haveli Union Territory, was found dead in a Mumbai hotel on February 22, 2021. Delkar is an Independent MP.

Economy & Corporate

State-owned Life Insurance Corp launches new plan Bima Jyoti

Life Insurance Corporation has introduced a new plan which is a non-linked, non-participating, individual, savings plan offering a combination of protection and savings. Bima Jyoti provides a guaranteed lumpsum payment on maturity and financial support to the family in case of untimely death of the policyholder during the policy-term.

World

At least 6 killed as Mexican Air Force plane crashes in eastern region

At least six soldiers were killed when a Mexican Air Force plane crashed on February 21, 2021 in the municipality of Emiliano Zapata in the state of Veracruz. LearJet 45 crashed after taking off from El Lencero Airport.

Sports

Adriatic Pearl Boxing Tournament in Montenegro: Indian women finish on top

Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg) and Arundhati Choudhary (69kg) fetched two more gold medals as Indian women boxers ended with five overall for a top finish in the 30th Adriatic Pearl Tournament in Budva, Montenegro. Alfiya Pathan (+81kg), Vinka (60kg) and T Sanamacha Chanu (75kg) are the other Indian women boxers who secured gold medals earlier in this tournament. Indian women emerged as the top team with 10 medals (five gold, three silver and two bronze).