Daily Current Affairs - 04-01-2021

More than 1700 migratory birds died in Pong Dam of Himachal Pradesh under mysterious circumstances.

How did the birds die?

The scientist believe that the birds would have died of viral or bacterial infections. Also, they believe that it might be a flu as the birds are dying in large numbers.

What steps have been taken to find out the cause of death?

The forest officials have collected more than15 samples from different locations. These samples have been sent to Indian veterinary Research Institute in Uttar Pradesh Bareilly, high security animal disease laboratory is situated in Bhopal and to the northern regional disease Diagnostic laboratory in Jalandhar to determine the cause of death.

Which birds died in pong dam?

Around 95% of birds that were found dead in the Pong Dam Sanctuary were the Bar Headed Geese that migrate from Siberia and Mongolia.

About Pong Dam Sanctuary

Around 1.15 to 1.2 lakh birds migrate to Pong Dam Bird Sanctuary during winters every year. They nest up to four months in the sanctuary.

The Pong Dam is also called the Beas dam. It is an artificial embankment Dam constructed across the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh. The Reservoir created by the dam is called Maharana Pratap Sagar and is a renowned Bird Sanctuary. The dam was constructed for hydroelectric power generation and irrigation.

The Maharana Pratap Sagar is located in the wetland zone of Shivalik Hills.

 Is Maharana Pratap Sagar Reservoir one of the International wetland sites of Ramsar convention?


What are the other recent mass wildlife deaths in India?

The Government of India is to initiate the project of Sagarmala Seaplane Services on selected routes.

Which ministry is implementing the Sagarmala Seaplane services?

Ministry of ports, shipping and waterways.

What is the main objective of Sagarmala Seaplane services?

The project aims to provide air connectivity to numerous tourist, religious, remote and unexplored locations near water bodies. This is to make the journey easier and simulate tourism on these new locations. Ultimately the project will contribute to boost the GDP of the country in the long run.

Under which Central Government scheme will the seaplane services operate?

Udan. Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik scheme.

What are the proposed locations for sagarmala seaplane services?

The locations included under the Sagarmala Seaplane Services are as follows:

What is the seaplane service that is already in operation in India?

The sea plane service between kevadiya and Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad is already in Operation. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2019.It is operated by SpiceJet subsidiaries Spice shuttle. Currently this is the only seaplane service that is operational in the country.

Why are the Seaplane Services needed?

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to dedicate the Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline to India on January 5, 2021.

What are the Key Highlights of the Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline?

What is the cost of Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline project?

The average cost of the project is Rs 5,750 crores.

When was the Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline project launched?

It was launched in 2009.

How much Tax Revenue will the Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline project bring in?

The pipeline is expected to bring in tax revenue of thousand crores of Rupees.

Who built the Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline?


What is the transportation capacity of Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline?

12 million metric standard cubic metres per day.

What were the challenges faced during the construction of Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline?

The major construction challenge faced in laying Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipelineis that it had to cross water bodies in more than 100 locations.

What technology was used to overcome the challenges in Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline?

Horizontal directional drilling method.

What is horizontal directional drilling method?

This method is used for long distances such as under the rivers, lagoons or highly urbanized areas.

The horizontal directional drilling method involves three main stages. They are:

The main advantage of the method is the combination of speed and reliability with the minimal environmental impact in installation.


Delhi government recently announced that it is to set up a Tamil Academy to protect the Tamil language and culture.

Who is the vice chairman of the Tamil Academy set up by Delhi government?

The Ex-Councilor N Raja has been appointed as the vice chairman of the newly set up Tamil Academy.

What are the functions of Tamil Academy?

What are the other Language Academies setup by Delhi government?

The Delhi government already runs Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Hindi, Maithili and Bhojpuri Academies.

How important is Tamil language in India?

Why is it important to set up the Tamil Academy in Delhi?

The number of people born outside Delhi was 3.7 million in 1991. This is more than half of population of Delhi. Delhi holds large number of immigrants from South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, East Indian states such as Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Bengal. Therefore, it is important to give equal importance to all the languages and cultures of people from different parts of India.

Apart from Hindi, the other languages that have official language status in Delhi are Urdu, Punjabi and English.

Why is Delhi so diverse in culture?

The people residing in the banks of Yamuna river were the original natives of Delhi. On the other hand, the city has attracted a large number of immigrants as a historical capital and the prominent City. When the Britishers shifted their capital from Kolkata to Delhi a large number of Bengalis migrated to Delhi. Also, after the partition of India in 1947 and large number of people, especially the Punjabis and sindhis migrated to Delhi.

The United States recently passed the Malala Yousafzai Act for Pakistani Women.

What are the Key Features of the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act?

What is the role of USAID in the scholarship programme?

The USAID has so far awarded more than 6000 scholarship to the young women of Pakistan since 2010. These scholarships help the Pakistani women to receive Higher Education in Pakistan. The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act aims to expand this programme.

Who is Malala Yousafzai?

Malala is a Pakistani activist for female education. She is also the Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate. She fought against the Taliban for women education. The Taliban had banned girls from attending schools.

On October 2012, Yousafzai was shot by Pakistani Taliban Gunman in retaliation for her activism. She was hit in the head with bullet and remind unconscious. She was later transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in United Kingdom.

 What is Malala Day?

On July 12, 2013, Malala spoke at the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education. This was on her 16th birthday coincidentally. The United Nations had dubbed the event as Malala Day.

What is USAID?

It is an interdependent agency of the United States that is responsible for administering foreign aid. It is one of the largest aid agencies in the world with a budget of 27 billion USD.

The International Financial Services Centres Authority recently became an associate member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

What are the benefits of IOSCO membership?

What is IOSCO?

What are the key roles of IOSCO members?

What was the most important agreement signed by IOSCO and IFRS?

IFRS is International Financial Reporting Standards. The IFRS and IOSCO signed an agreement in 2013 on a set of protocols to improve the consistency in the implementation of IFRS. This agreement increased the reputation of IOSCO members further.

What are the new areas supported by the agreement signed between IOSCO and IFRS?

IOSCO on IFRS identifies four new areas for mutual supportive work:

The Drug Controller General of India recently announced that it has authorised two COVID-19 vaccines for restricted Emergency Use in India.

What are the two COVID-19 Vaccines approved by DGCI for emergency use?


What is COVAXIN?

The COVAXIN is the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR (Indian council of Medical Research). It was the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine to be developed in the country.


The COVISHIELD vaccine was developed by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca, the pharmaceutical company.

What are the COVID-19 vaccines in India?

Apart from COVAXIN and COVSHIELD the following are the other COVID-19 vaccines in India

What is ZyCoV-D?

ZyCoV-D is a covid-19 vaccine that has been approved by the DCGI in India. The vaccine was developed by Zydus Cadila.

What is Sputnik V?

Sputnik V is a Russian vaccine that is under phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials in India. It was developed by the Gameleya institute of Russia. The clinical trials of the vaccine is being conducted by Dr Reddys Laboratories in India. The Government of India has planned to make 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine.

What is NVX-Cov 2373?

NVX-Cov 2373 is a covid-19 vaccine developed by serum Institute of India in collaboration with an American company NovaVax. The Phase III trial of the vaccine is under consideration .

What is Biological E Limited Vaccine?

The Biological E Limited is to start large scale stage trials of COVID-19 vaccine in India. The company has started early and mid stage human trials of its vaccine in India. The vaccine is being developed in collaboration with us-based dynavax Technologies and baylor college of medicine in Houston.

What is HGC019?

It is a mRNA vaccine candidate developed by Pune based Gennova biopharmaceuticals. The vaccine is supported by Ind-CEPI mission. Gennova is to start the Phase 1 clinical trial of the vaccine in January 2021.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to deliver an inaugural address at the National Metrology Conclave on January 4, 2021.

What is the theme of National Metrology Conclave 2021?

Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation.

Who is organising the National Metrology Conclave?

The National Metrology Conclave is organised by the Council of scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL).

Where is the National Metrology Conclave held?

New Delhi

What is the significance of 2021 National Metrology Conclave?

It is held on the 75th foundation day of CSIR, January 4, 2021.

What are the key events of 2021 National Metrology conclave?

What is National Atomic Timescale?

The National Atomic Timescale will create the Indian Standard Time with 2.8 nanoseconds of accuracy. The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is called the Timekeeper of India. The time scale is maintained with the help of five cesium atomic clocks. Time scale is the time standard.

What is Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya?

It is a laboratory to support, test and calibrate Quality Assurance. Currently the Government of India is focusing to support nanotechnology, material science, Ayush, Food and Agriculture and biologics through Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravyas.

What is the role of National Environmental Standards lab?

It will focus on self-Reliance in certification of ambient air and industrial emission monitoring equipment. The Global market value of air pollution monitoring system is to reach 7000 million USD by 2025. The Ministry of environment, forest and climate change has designated the CSIR-NPL the for verifying and certifying the emission and ambient air pollution monitoring equipment. Thus, CSIR-NPL is launching the dedicated National Environmental Standards Laboratory.

What are the key objectives of National Metrology Conclave?

The conclave will strengthen the role of Precision measurement in various segments that has direct implication in the economic growth of India. It will mainly focus on establishing and developing primary standards, accreditation, quality systems and standardization, regulations and Legal Metrology, conformity assessment.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India recently announced that all edible refined oils, vegetable fat spreads, Vanaspati, margarines, Bakery shortening and mixed fat spreads can contain only 3% or less trans fats. This is to be implemented by January 2021.   By January 2022, this is to be further reduced to 2%. This is being introduced because the World Health Organisation has called for global elimination of trans fat by 2023.

How are trans fats created?

The trans fats are created artificially during the hydrogenation process of vegetable oils. They result in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the major source of Trans fats. Some trans fats are also formed during manufacturing processes. For instance, trans fats are formed during high temperature refinement process used in making vegetable oils.

What are the risks of Trans fats?

Consumption of Trans fats results in heart diseases. In 2017, the Global market volume of partially hydrogenated oils (the main source of Trans Fats) was 13.6 million tonnes. Eliminating trans fats can save more than 17 million lives in next 25 years.

Why is the regulation made by FSSAI important?

India has the highest burden of heart diseases due to high trans-fat in the world.

According to REPLACE annual report of World Health Organisation that was released in September 2020, more than 40 countries have implemented the “Best practice policies to eliminate trans fats”. The best practice policies limit trans fats to 2% or less. India has so far not implemented the practice. Therefore, the recent regulation introduced by FSSAI is important.

What is REPLACE?

It was launched by the World Health Organisation in 2018. REPLACE is six areas of actions as follows

In order to solve the problem of space debris, Japanese researches are to launch wooden satellites by 2023.

What are wooden satellites?

These satellites are made of wood. They will burn up without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere when they plunge back to the earth. With this the satellite will not leave out any waste in space after it completes its service or when it becomes de functional.

Who is designing wooden satellite?

The wooden satellites are being designed by the Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University. The Sumitomo Forestry is a 400-year-old wood working company of Japan. Both the entities will research on tree growth and use of wood materials in space. They will experiment different types of wood in extreme environments on the earth.

What is the issue of space debris?

All the satellites that re-enter the earth atmosphere burn and create tiny Alumina particles. These particles float in upper atmosphere for many years. According to NASA, 95% of man-made objects in orbit were space junk. These objects are dangerous to functioning live satellite.

How are space debris created?

According to European space agency, there are 128 million pieces of debris in the orbit. Out of these only 34000 objects are larger than 10. However, when these larger objects collide, they produce smaller ones. The smaller particles can travel more than 20000 miles per hour that collide with other particles to make even more smaller particles.

Why are wooden satellites needed?

According to World Economic Forum there are more than 6000 satellite circling the earth. Out of these 60% of them are de-functional. It is estimated that thousand satellites will be launched every year this decade. With this there will be 15000 satellite by 2028. Therefore, potential damages to live satellites will increase.

In 2006 a very tiny piece of space debris collided with the International Space Station and took out a chip of the heavily reinforced window. This costed severe damages. Therefore, it is essential to develop solutions like wooden satellites to completely remove space debris.

A perfectly preserved woolly Rhinoceros was found by scientists in Yakutia in Russia.

Where was the Ice Age Rhino found?

The Ice Age Rhino was discovered on the bank of Tirekhtyakh river.

What are findings about the Ice Age Rhinos?

Most of the intestine of the Rhino was intact. Also, the Rhino had perfectly preserved hair, soft tissue and a lump of fat. Its horn was found near its uncovered site. According to scientists, the animal died when it was three to four years old. The age of the carcass has been dated as 20,000 to 50,000 old.

How was the Ice Age Woolly rhino found?

It was revealed due to the melting of permafrost in Russia. Several other animals such as Mammoths, cave lion and foals have been found in the region due to permafrost melting.

How will Permafrost Melting affect Russia?

Around 65% of Russia is covered by permafrost. Currently Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the other regions of the world that is causing the permafrost in the region to melt rapidly.

The Norlisk Oil Spill is the major industrial disaster that occurred in May 2020 due to melting of permafrost.

What is Norilsk Oil Spill?

state emergency was declared in June 20-22 to the oil spill. This was the second largest oil spill in Russian history. Around 20,000 tonnes of diesel were leaked into Ambarnaya river. The oil spill turned the river into Crimson red.

What is Permafrost?

Permafrost is the ground that remains completely frozen for at least two years. Permafrost is defined based on temperature and duration. The permafrost are Grounds that are known to be below 22% of the land surface on the earth. They are mostly located in polar zones and regions with high mountains. The permafrost is found in Russia, Canada and Alaska.

The National Defence Authorisation act, 2021 was enacted by United States to specify budget, expenditure and policies of United States Department of Defence for the fiscal year 2021. The act determined the annual budget of United States as 740.5 USD. The first National Defence authorisation act, 2021 was passed in 1961. Since then, the act has been passed every year.

Why is the act named after William M Thornberry?

The act has been named the William M thornberry National Defence authorisation act. It has been named after William m Thornberry to honour him. He served as the chair of the house armed services committee. The committee is responsible for funding and oversight of department of Defence in the United States.

What is the recent issue in regard to National Defence authorisation act?

The outgoing US President Donald Trump recently vetoed the National Defence Authorisation act, 2021 arguing that the act affected national security. He also disagreed with its provisions of renaming military installations after confederate general. However, the House of representatives voted to override the veto power of President Trump.

What are Veto powers of the US President?

The President of United States may choose to veto or reject the legislation on rare occasions. However, the lawmakers can override the Veto and enact bills into law by proving two-thirds of votes in both the Chambers of Congress.

Every Bill for resolution approved by the United States Congress is presented to the president for his approval. Once the bill is presented, the president may sign the bill into law within 10 days or may reject the bill by returning to the Congress with reasons of objections. If the president does not do anything with the bill, the bill automatically becomes a law after 10 days.

The term Veto does not appear in the Constitution of United States.

Every year, the World Braille Day is celebrated on January 4 by United Nations and several other international organizations. The day is celebrated to create awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the realization of human rights for the blind.

Why is World Braille Day celebrated on January 4?

It is celebrated on January 4 because the day marks the birthday of Louis Braille, the creator of this writing system. He was born in France in 1809.

When was the first World Braille Day celebrated?


What is Braille?

Braille is the representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots. The dots represent the letters and numbers and mathematical, musical and scientific symbols as well.

Who invented Braille?

Braille was invented by Louis Braille in the 19th century in France.

Braille Language in India

India adopted the uniform Braille codes for different languages in 1951. India established the first ever Braille plant called Central Braille Plant in Dehradun. In 1954, Central Braille press was established to manufacture Braille appliances. The press produces simple equipment such as Braille slate, stylus and arithmetic Braille slate.

What are the steps taken by GoI to support the people with disabilities?

The GoI enacted the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. The act provides special category called ‘low vision’ along with blind. Also, the act meets the stipulations of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

India accepted several United Nations resolutions on disabled people. This includes Observance of International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, observance of UN Decade for the disabled 1983-92. India also observed Asia-Pacific Decade for the Disabled declared by ESCAP. ESCAP is Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It is a regional think-tank that provides analytical opinions on social, economic and environmental dynamics in the region.