Daily Current Affairs - 26-01-2021

The Global Climate Risk Index was recently released by Germanwatch-a NGO based in Bonn, Germany. In the index, India has been ranked at seventh position among the countries that are most effected by climate change in 2019.

Key Findings of the report

The Global Climate Risk Index (CRI)

The Global Climate Risk Index is annually published by the Germanwatch.  The index analyses the impact of extreme climate events on the country and the economy. It analyses how countries have been affected by the impacts of weather-related loss events. The index is prepared on the basis of data from Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE.

Germanwatch

It is a non-profit non-governmental organization that was founded in 1991. The NGO is based in Bonn, Germany. It was established with the objective of influencing the public policy on trade and environment.

India and the United Kingdom recently held the 14th meeting of the India-United Kingdom Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. The meeting was held virtually on January 21-22, 2021.

Highlights

India-UK counter terrorism cooperation

Both the nations have showed and shared a strong interest in preventing terror attacks on their mainland. They have suffered such attacks such as a terrorist attack on British soil in London on July 7 2005 and Mumbai attack on 26-28 November in 2008. In the line, the Prime Minister Modi during visit to the UK in November 2015, he explicitly named Lashkar-e-Taiba for the Mumbai attack. In the 13th meeting of the India-UK Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism in London on 25-26 November 2019, both the countries had committed to work together to counter the terrorism in all its forms.

The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report has said that, the world economy is expected to recover slightly by 4.7 percent in the year 2021. The economy had declined by 4.3 percent in 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlights that, this loss in 2020 was more than double the impact of the global financial crisis in 2009.

Findings of the report

World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report

The report is released jointly by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), five United Nations Regional Economic Commissions and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

The UNCTAD was established in the year 1964 by the United Nations General Assembly as a permanent intergovernmental body. It has been headquartered in Geneva. The body is the part of the United Nations Secretariat that deals with trade, investment, and other development issues. UNCTAD works with the objective of maximizing the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries.  It also seeks to assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy equally. The organisation submits its reports to the UN General Assembly and United Nations Economic and Social Council. UNCTAD works with the objective of formulating the policies related to all aspects of development such as aid, trade, finance, transport, and technology. The organisation held its meeting once in four years.

The annual event Bharat Parv that celebrates the spirit of India is being organised virtually from January 26, 2021 till January 31, 2021. Bharat Parv is being organised with the overall theme focusing on the Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.

Highlights

About Bharat Parv

About Bharat Parv-2021

In the virtual event of Bharat Parv, glimpses of Republic Day Parade and recorded performances of Armed forces music bands will also be available. In the event, Central Institutes of Hotel Management and the Indian Culinary Institute will also display their culinary delight and recipe through videos.  The online event will also showcase the videos, films, images, brochures and other information.

Contribution from the ministry

Prasar Bharati has set up its virtual stall that will showcase its efforts in promoting the Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat. While, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Bureau of Outreach and Communication will focus on the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It will exhibit the photos, videos, animation related to Swachch Bharat, Sashakt Bharat, Bapu Ke Sapno Ka Bharat’. The Publications Division of Prasar Bharti will participate in the first Virtual event on the theme of विरासत शब्दों की, भाव भारतीयता का.

The Ministry of Agriculture has proposed for the National Mission for Edible Oil in order to increase the domestic availability and reduce the import dependency. The mission has been proposed for next five years in the span of 2020-21 to 2024-25.

About National Mission for Edible Oil (NMEO)

The NMEO comprises of the three Sub-Missions into it with the objective of increasing the production of oilseeds and edible oils from the three sources:

  1. Primary Sources- it includes the Annual Crops, Plantation Crops and Edible TBOs
  2. Secondary Sources- it includes the Rice bran oil and Cotton seed oil.
  3. Consumer Awareness to maintain the edible oil consumption constant at 19.00 kg per person per annum.

Aim of the Mission

The mission has been proposed with the aim of increasing the production from 30.88 to 47.80 million tonnes of oilseeds. It seeks to produce 7.00 to 11.00 million tonnes of edible oils from Primary Sources by 2024-25. Also, the edible oils from secondary sources will be doubled from existing 3.50 to 7.00 million tonnes.

Challenges of oilseed production

In India, the major challenges associated with the oilseed production are:

  1. Rain-fed conditions in 70% area.
  2. High seed cost for Groundnut and Soybean.
  3. Small holding capacity with limited resources.
  4. Low seed replacement rate and
  5. Low productivity.

Oil consumption in India

In India, there is a requirement of 25 million tonnes of edible oils so as to meet the requirement of current consumption level of 19 kg per person annually. Out of these, 10.50 million tonnes are produced domestically from primary sources like Soybean, Groundnut, Rapeseed & Mustard, Niger, Sunflower, & Safflower and the secondary sources like Coconut, Oil palm, Rice Bran, Cotton seeds & Tree Borne Oilseeds.  The 60%, of the requirement is met by the import. Though, the production of oilseeds is increasing rapidly but there exists a gap between the demand and supply of oilseeds. This is increased the dependency on imports.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in his addressed to the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 said that by the year 2030, India will target 450 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity. He also said that India is promoting the LED lights and is also saving 38 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. He also highlighted that, by 2030 India will restore 26 million hectares of degraded land.

About Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

Aim of CAS

India’s Commitment

India has committed to provide the clean cooking fuel to 80 million rural households during the summit. It also committed to connect the 64 million households with the piped water supply.

COP 26

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference is also known as COP26. It is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. It will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1 to 12, 2021. The United Kingdom will chair the summit.  The conference will incorporate the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), third meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA3) and the 16th meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP16).

The Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, has released the new M-Sand Policy of Rajasthan in light with the government’s commitment to meet the quantity of sand which is needed for construction work.

 M-Sand Policy

What was the need of this policy?

In the state of Rajasthan, the availability of sand is not as per the requirement of construction works. There is a demand of around 70 million tonnes of river sand for various construction work. But, only 20 M-sand units are operating in the state. These 20 units produces 20,000 tonnes of M-sand every day.  Now, this new M-sand policy will be promoting it as a long-term alternative to gravel and help in setting up of new mining units.

What is M-Sand?

The policy defines the M-Sand as the manufactured sand produced by crushing the minerals. The M-sand meet the standards of ISO code 383: 2016. The sand is derived from the minerals which are locally available such as granite, silica, basalt, sandstone and quartile. The sand is produced by crushing the minerals into stones of size 150 microns. The crushed material is then segregated and used in differently based on the size. In order to reduce the impurities, the sand is washed after crushing it to make it more durable and suitable for construction process.

The Ministry of road transport has decided to impose the additional taxes on old vehicles that are no more fit on road. This additional tax is being called as the “Green Tax”. Th decision was taken to curb pollution. It will also motivate people to switch to environment-friendly alternatives to the vehicles.

Highlights

How the vehicles will be taxed?

What is Green tax?

Green tax is also called as the pollution tax or environmental tax. The tax is an excise duty on goods that results into the environmental pollutants. An economic theory says, that if taxes will be charged on emissions causing pollution will lower the environmental impairment in a cost-effective manner. The tax will encourage the behavioural changes in households and firms that are required to reduce the pollution. The tax mainly aims to ensure that polluters are duly punished for their pollution creating activities.

Green Tax in India

This tax in India is relatively new trend. However, the RFID tags are being given and CCTV cameras have been deployed at border entry points. With this, the commercial vehicles that enter the city are monitored for emissions. In the cities like Delhi, Environmental Compensation Charge (EEC) is imposed on pollutants depending upon the vehicle’s size.

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi said that the central government has taken many initiatives that focus on empowering the girl child. He highlighted that, the initiatives also provide a better access to education, better healthcare and improves the gender sensitivity. This statement was made by him on the occasion of National Girl Child Day.

National Girl Child Day

National Girl Child day 2021

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme

This scheme was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The scheme has been implemented through a national campaign and focussed multi sectoral action in selected 100 districts which have low CSR. The scheme covers all States and Union Territories (UTs). The scheme mainly targets the states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Punjab and Bihar.

Why this scheme was needed?

The scheme was launched in the view of declining sex ratio because of sex-selective abortions or female foeticide, pre-birth and post-birth discrimination against girls. As per the census 2011, there was a decline in CSR from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 918 in 2011.

Objectives of BBBP scheme

The scheme was launched with the objective to prevent the gender biased sex selective elimination, to ensure the survival & protection of the girl child and to ensure the education and participation of the girl child.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired the surface-to-air Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile off the Odisha coast. The missile can intercept the aerial threats. The missile has been launched in order to boost the Indian Air Force (IAF) defence system.

Akash-NG

Characteristic of Akash-NG

The Akash battery comprises of a single Rajendra 3D passive electronically scanned array radar or Simple the Rajendra Radar and four launchers with three missiles each. Each battery can track up to 64 targets and attack up to 12. It comprises of a 60 Kg high-explosive, pre-fragmented warhead. The missile is capable of protecting the moving convoy of vehicles. It provides air defence missile coverage for the area of 2,000 km².

Passive Electronically Scanned Array (PESA)

It is also called as the passive phased array. PESA is an antenna in which beam of radio waves can be electronically directed to point in different directions in which all the antenna elements are connected with the single transmitter. PESA is highly used in radars.

On the evening of 72nd Republic Day, India has honored 119 people from diverse field with the Padma Awards.

Highlights

Padma Awards

Padma Vibhushan

  1. Shri Shinzo Abe – Public Affairs – Japan
  2. Shri S P Balasubramaniam (Posthumous) – Art – Tamil Nadu
  3. Shri Sudarshan Sahoo – Art – Odisha
  4. Belle Monappa Hegde – Medicine – Karnataka
  5. Shri B. B. Lal Others – Archaeology – Delhi
  6. Shri Narinder Singh Kapany (Posthumous) – Science and Engineering – United States of America
  7. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan – Others – Spiritualism – Delhi

Padma Bhushan

It is the third-highest civilian award in India. The award is preceded by the Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan while followed by the Padma Shri. The award was Instituted on January 2, 1954.

Padma Shri

It is the fourth-highest civilian award of India after Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan. It is awarded by the Government of India every year on the occasion of republic day since 1954.

The Indian Armed forces conducted a large-scale tri-service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX – 21 in Andaman and Nicobar group of islands in between 21 to 25 January 2021.

Highlights

Exercise KAVACH

It is also a tri service Military exercise. The exercise was conducted along with the AMHEX-21 in January 2021. The exercise was conducted under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) which happens to be the only Joint Forces Command of India. The exercise was participated by the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air force and the Indian Coast Guard. It involves the synergised application of maritime surveillance assets, air and maritime strikes besides the air defence, submarine and landing operations. This exercise was conducted with the aim of set up the joint war-fighting capabilities and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) so as to boost the operational synergy between all the services.

Significance of such exercises

Such exercises help in keeping the check on the preparedness of all the agencies to deal with any threat and enhance the coastal security. These exercises become more significant in the light of 1993 Bombay Bombings and the 2008 Mumbai Attacks that took place because of unsecure maritime border.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has created a new world record. It has launched 143 satellites on a single rocket called Falcon 9 rocket. With the new record, SpaceX has broken the record of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that has deployed 104 satellites on a single launch in February 2017. For the purpose of delivering these satellites to a polar sun-synchronous orbit, Space X charges a price of 15,000 dollars per kilogram for each satellite.

Which satellites were launched?

Aim of the launch

SpaceX has launched these satellites with the aim of providing the near-global broadband internet coverage all across the world by the end of 2021.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)

It is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company. It has been headquartered in Hawthorne, California. The agency was founded in the year 2002 by Elon Musk. The agency was established with the goal to reduce the space transportation costs in order to enable the colonization of Mars. It is the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket of the world that has reached to the orbit by the launch of Falcon 1 in 2008.

Falcon 9 rocket

This rocket is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle. It has been designed and manufactured by SpaceX.  The launcher uses cryogenic liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) as propellants. The name has been derived from the fictional Star Wars spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon.

Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO)

It is also called as the heliosynchronous orbit. This is a polar orbit around a planet. In the orbit, satellite passes over any given point of the planet’s surface at the same local mean solar time.