Daily Current Affairs - 06-01-2021

The Union Cabinet recently approved the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Japan on “Specified Skilled Worker”.

What are the Key Features of the MoU?

What are the 14 sectors included in the MoU?

The fourteen sectors are Industrial machinery, building cleaning, nursing care, material processing industry, electric and electronic information related industry, industrial machinery manufacturing industry, shipbuilding and ship-related industry, aviation, automobile maintenance, lodging, aviation, fisheries, agriculture, food and beverages manufacturing industries, food service industry, construction.

What is India-Japan Nuclear Deal?

The Nuclear deal between India and Japan was signed in 2016. The deal raised concerns as India was a non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty member. The deal was very much needed for India as it was key to India’s deals with French and US nuclear firms that had stakes in Japan or were owned by Japanese firms.

What are the key India-Japan projects?

An International Team of researchers led by University of Oxford have developed a new approach to survey African Elephants using satellite images and Artificial Intelligence.

What is the new approach?

What are the current methods used to count elephants?

Manual counting and Manned Aircrafts for aerial counts are current methods. Of this, the manned aircrafts for aerial counts is highly expensive. Also, such methods are hindered by poor visibility and are highly challenging. The other manual counting methods might lead to erroneous counting. This might result in misallocation of scarce conservation resources and misunderstanding of population trends.

Elephants in India

The population of elephants in India is 27,312. The Indian Elephants are one of the three subspecies of Asian elephants.

Conservation of Elephants

In 1986, the Asian elephants were listed as “Endangered” in IUCN Red List. They have been listed under CITES Appendix I. India launched Project Elephant in 1992 to provide financial and technical support of wildlife management efforts. The project aims to increase the life of the elephants in their natural habitats by protecting their habitats and migration corridors.

Elephant Corridors in India

There are 138 elephant corridors in India. Of these 28 are interstate and seventeen are international state corridors. The Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that connects two large habitats of elephants. They are crucial to reduce animal fatalities due to accidents.

The Department of Animal Husbandry has set up a control room after confirmation of Bird Flu in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh.

What are the functions of the control room?

The control room will watch the situation and take stock on daily basis of the preventive and control measures undertaken by the respective State Governments. The control room will also abide by the National Action Plan of Avian Influenza.

What is National Action Plan of Avian Influenza?

The National Action Plan on Avian Influenza comprises of the following divisions:

What are the different types of Avian Influenza virus?

The Influenza virus is grouped into Type A, B and C.  Type A Influenza Virus is known to infect animals only and is zoonotic. This means Type A can infect humans as well. The subtypes of Avian Influenza are H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2. The subtypes are classified based on surface proteins called Newuraminidase and Hemagglutinin.

What is GISRS?

It is Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System launched in 1952 by the World Health Organization. It monitors seasonal trends and potentially pandemic Influenza in the world. It is the backbone to the Global Alert System for Influenza.

What is Global Influenza Strategy?

It was launched by World Health Organization for 2019-2030. It aims to prevent seasonal influenza and control the spread of the virus from animals to humans.

The IRDAI is to introduce standard products covering the risk of fire and allied perils. The policy being introduced is to replace the Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy. It has three main components namely the Bharat Griha Raksha, Bharat Laghu Udyam Suraksha and Bharat Sookshma Udyam Suraksha.

What is Bharat Griha Raksha?

Under the Bharat Griha Raksha policy, the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India) will introduce a standard home insurance policy that will cover risk of fire and other related dangers.

What are the key features of Bharat Griha Raksha Policy?

What is Bharat Sookshma Udyam Suraksha?

It is the standard product for enterprises for which the total risk value of up to Rs 5 crores. It will provide coverage to machinery, buildings, plant, stocks and other assets.

What is Bharat Laghu Udyam Suraksha?

It will cover enterprises for which the total value of risk  across the insurable asset classes in the location exceeds Rs 5 crores.

The Bird Flu in India has been reported in wild Geese in Himachal Pradesh, ducks in Kerala, crows in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Also, in Haryana more than one lakh poultry birds have died mysteriously in the last few days. The Kerala Government recently declared Avian Influenza as State Disaster. In Kerala more than 1,700 ducks have died due to flu.

How severe is the Bird Flu in India?

What is Avian Influenza or Bird Flu?

It is a contagious viral disease caused by Influenza Type A virus. It usually affects poultry birds such as Turkeys and Chickens. There are several types of Influenza Type A virus. Some of the virus may cause low egg production and others result in early cracking of egg shells.

When did the Bird Flu start infecting humans?

The humans were first known to have contracted with bird flu in 1997. The H5N1 strain was the first Influenza virus to infect humans. It occurred following an outbreak in a live bird market in Hong Kong.

According to the World Health Organization, the H5N1 does not spread from person to person. Also, according to WHO, there are no evidences that the virus can spread through properly cooked poultry. The virus is highly sensitive to heat and dies in cooking temperature.

Why is the Bird Flu outbreak creating havoc in the country?

The H5N1 is deadly. Around six out of ten bird flu cases have led to deaths in humans. The virus if mutated becomes easily transferable from person to person by altering its shape to grab human cells. This might result in a pandemic. Thus, the bird flu is currently creating a havoc in the country. The pandemic and seasonal flu have jumped from birds to humans through mutation.

The Delhi Government recently issued guidelines to reduce the weight of school bags of students in the National Capital Region under its Delhi School Bag Policy.

What are the Key Features of the Delhi School Bag Policy?

What is the class-wise weight limits prescribed for school bags?

The Delhi government has also issued class wise weight limit for school bags in order to avoid confusion in implementation of the policies.
Accordingly, the pre-primary classes should not carry bags and should not be issued with the homeworks.

The World Bank recently released the Global Economic Prospects report.

What are the key findings of the Global Economic Prospects report?

According to World Bank India is facing its first technical recessionary phase.

What is Technical recessionary phase?

When the GDP growth is negative for two consecutive quarters or more than the period it is called technical recessionary phase. In India, the Gross Domestic Product declined by 23.9 percent between April and June quarter. The Gross Domestic Product growth rate contracted by 7.5 % during the July and September quarter. This clearly shows that the GDP growth of India has been negative for two consecutive quarters. Thus, India is in a technical recessionary phase.

What is the state of unemployment in India?

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy more than 50 lakh salaried persons lost their jobs during the covid-19 pandemic.

What are the predictions made by other Global rating agencies?

Several Global rating Agencies have made their predictions for Indian economy. In September 2020 the switch agency sharply lowered its growth forecast of India. It said that the gross domestic product of the country for the financial year 2020-21 is expected to contract by 10.5%. Earlier it had predicted a contraction of 5%. The Asian Development Bank predicted that India’s growth will contract by 9% in 2020-21.

The UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) and SLNP (Street Lighting National Programme) completed six years of successful implementation. The two programmes revamped household and public lighting system across the country.

What are the achievements of UJALA in six years?

What are the achievements of SLNP in 6 years?

What are the awards received by the schemes?

What are the overall achievement of the schemes?

Way Forward

The SLNP has plans to bring investment of Rs 8,000 crores by 2024 to cover entire rural India. More than 30 million LED street lights are to be installed by EESL in coming years.

The World bank, Government of India and Government of West Bengal recently signed a 105 million US the agreement. The fund has been allocated to the West Bengal inland water transport, logistics and special development project.

What are the key features of the agreement?

What is West Bengal inland water transport, logistics and special development project?

What are the benefits of the project?

The Hooghly river is a distributary of river Ganga. It separates the Kolkata port, from its large consumption centres, that is, the vast hinterland comprising of the two landlocked neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Bhutan and the entire North East. Therefore, it is essential to increase the water way transport on Hooghly river. More than 80% of passenger and freight traffic currently cross the river.

Why is the project needed?

Currently the Kolkata city has restricted the movement of trucks to the port through the bridges and for limited hours. This reduces the access to the port and increases cost of logistics. The ferries of West Bengal provide efficient, flexible mode of transport to both freight and the passengers. They also save operating costs and travel time as compared to the road Journeys. However, the ferry system currently caters to only 2% of passenger traffic and very small portion of freight movement. The project will increase the number of ferries operating and will also increase the waterway connectivity.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Maha Metro. Maha Metro is Maharashtra metro rail Corporation. It is a joint venture company of the Government of India and Government of Maharashtra.

What are the key features of the agreement?

The agreement will render technical support to implement the advanced biodigester Mk II technology to treat human waste in Metro Rail Network.

What is the current status of bio digester in Indian Railways?

The Indian Railways has already installed more than 2.4 Lakh biodigester in its passenger coaches.

How will Bio digester help to control Dal Lake pollution?

DRDO recently demonstrated a customised version of bio digester to treat human waste generated from the houseboats in the Dal lake. Around hundred units of biodigester are to be procured for civil Habitat around the lake to minimise water pollution. This project is being monitored by a committee of experts constituted by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.

Why was the Biodigester technology developed?

The biodigester technology was basically developed by DRDO for the Indian armed forces in high altitude Himalayan regions.

What is biodigester technology?

The biodigester technology degrades and converts human waste into usable water and gases. The generated gas is used for cooking and water for irrigation purposes. This is done in an eco-friendly manner.

What is the working of bio digester technology?

The biodigester technology involves bacteria that feed upon fecal matter. The fecal matter is dumped into a tank along with the bio digesting bacteria. The bacteria through anaerobic process will degrade the fecal matter. During the process water and methane gas are released.

What is an anaerobic process?

It is the process that occurs in the absence of free or combined oxygen.

The Rashtriya Kamadhenu Aayog recently announced that it is to conduct a National-level “Gau-Vigyan” (Cow Science) online exam. This is being done to generate interest among the students and public about the indigenous cow and its benefits.

About the Exam

What is the significance of the exam?

The exam will infuse curiosity to all Indians about cows and make them aware of the business opportunities and unexplored potential a cow can offer after it stops giving milk.

What is Rastriya Kamadhenu Aayog?

The Rashtriya Kamadhenu Aayog was constituted to organize animal husbandry in lines of modern and scientific approaches. It will take steps to improve cow breeds, prohibit cow slaughtering. It functions as an integral part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

What are the functions of Rashtriya Kamadhenu Aayog?

What is Rashtriya Gokul Mission?

The mission aims to conserve and develop indigenous bovine breeds. It was launched in 2014 under the National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development.

The World Health Organisation recently announced that the United Kingdom covid-19 variant has been detected in more than 41 countries. The VOC-202012/01 the was first detected in South Africa. This variant is 70% more transmissible than the other covid-19 mutants.

Has VOC-202012/01 reached India?

Yes. Around 38 people have been found infected with the mutant. It has been detected in 10 samples at the National Institute of Mental Health and neurosciences, 11 samples at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), three samples at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and in 5 samples at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

Which Indian institute has successfully isolated and cultured the UK covid-19 variant?

National Institute of virology, Pune has successfully isolated VOC-202012/01. It is to test the virus on COVID-19 vaccines that are developed and also on vaccines that are currently under trials in India.

What is India doing to fight against the UK covid-19 variant?

What is INSACOG?

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the National Atomic Scale at the National Meteorology Conclave.

What is Atomic Time?

Atomic Time provides the exact speed at which the clock ticks. In technical words, it measures the actual length of a second. Atomic Clocks deviate only one second in up to 100 million years.

The International System of Units (SI unit) define one second (in atomic time) as the time taken by the Cesium-133 atom in the ground state to oscillate 9,192,631,770 times. In simple words, the atomic clocks count one second after the Cesium-133 atom has oscillated 9,192,631,770 times.

What is the significance of National Atomic Time?

With the newly inaugurated National Atomic Time, India has become self-reliant in measuring time within the range of nanosecond. It has now achieved the accuracy level of 2.8 Nanosecond matching the International Standard Time.

Why is Atomic Time so important?

Reaching an accuracy of 2.8 Nanoseconds in atomic time is of great help to ISRO. Atomic time pay huge role in cutting edge technology. Also, accurate atomic time measurement is essential in the field of weather forecast, disaster management, telecom, Defence, Railways and Banking.

What is International Atomic Time?

It is calculated by taking weighted average of more than 300 atomic clocks. These clocks are located at more than sixty timing laboratories around the world. It is also called Astronomical time that refers to the Earth rotation. It is computed by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) located in Paris, France.

What is Universal Time?

The Universal Time is the time standard based on the rotation of the earth. This is was in use for several decades. However, this is not accurate as the earth’s rotation is not constant and is affected by the celestial bodies around it. The Greenwich Meridian Time is a Universal Time.