Daily Current Affairs - 27-01-2021

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for milling copra and ball copra.

Key Facts

Minimum support price (MSP)

MSP is an agricultural product price which is set by the Government of India. On this price, the government purchases the commodities directly from the farmer. The MSP is not enforceable by law. MSP seeks to safeguard the farmer interest by providing them a minimum profit for their harvest in case the open market has lesser price than the actual cost incurred. The price of the 23 commodities is set by the government twice a year. The MSP is fixed based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). CACP sets the price since 2009 on the basis of cost of production, demand & supply, price fluctuations, market price trends, international market prices and agricultural wage rate.

List of Commodities for which MSP is set

A total of 23 commodities are covered by the MSP. They are:

Among Cereals– Paddy, Maize, Wheat, Barley, Sorghum, Pearl millet and Ragi.

Among Pulses-Chickpea or Gram, Moong, Tur, Urad and Lentil.

Among Oilseeds– Peanut, Rapeseed, Sesame,  Soyabean, Sunflower Safflower, Niger seed and

Among Commercial crops– Copra, Cotton, Sugarcane and Raw jute.

The West Bengal Transport Corporation has launched the First Young Readers’ Boat Library. The library has been launched in collaboration with a heritage book store.  It has been launched on a boat making it first of its kind initiative.

Why this library has been launched?

The boat library was launched with the motive that one can read books while appreciating the beauty of Kolkata.

About the Boat Library

Millennium Park

It a private park in Kolkata which is situated along the Strand Road on eastern shore of Hooghly River. It stretches for 2.5 km near Fairlie Ghat. The park comprises of the landscaped gardens and children’s amusement rides. The park was inaugurated on December 1999 along the riverside to provide a green area for the polluted waterway in Kolkata.

The Hooghly River

It is also called as the Bhagirathi-Hooghly, Ganga and Kati-Ganga. The river runs approximately for 260-kilometre as a distributary of the Ganges River in West Bengal. It is divided into Padma and Hooghly near Giria, Murshidabad. Another man-made bifurcation of the river upstream is situated at Farakka. The Padma river flows eastward into Bangladesh while the Hooghly flows south through West Bengal.

The United Nations has released its biggest ever opinion poll on climate change that is “UN Global Climate Survey”. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted the “Peoples’ Climate Vote” for 1.2 million people from 50 countries to prepare the report.

Key Findings of the survey

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP is the global development network of United Nations (UN) headquartered in New York City. The organisation promotes the technical and investment cooperation among nations. It is engaged in giving the expert advice, training and grants support to the developing countries. It works with nations on their own solutions to meet the global and national development challenges. UNDP help the nations only if different nations request for the help. The UNDP is funded by voluntary contributions from UN member states, completely. UNDP is operational in 177 countries. It also helps the countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also focuses on poverty reduction, Social development, democratic governance, HIV/AIDS, energy & environment and crisis prevention & recovery.

The permanent representative of India to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti, announced the pledge of USD 150,000 to fund for the activities of the UN peacebuilding as a token for the engagement of both the countries.

Highlights

United Nations Peacebuilding

The United Nations Peacekeeping operations are policing and peacebuilding actions. It is carried out by the United Nations to bring order and stability in the nations affected by the war. The UN Peacekeepers are known as ‘Blue Helmets’ or ‘Blue Berets’. They are the personnel comprising of the soldiers, military officers, police officers and civilian personnel from other countries. The Department of the Peace Operation is headed by the “Jean-Pierre”.

Functions of United Nations Peacekeepers

The United Nations Peacekeepers works to ensure peace agreements or the peace accords are successfully implemented in war prone zones.  They also help in confidence-building measures, electoral support, improving law and order and boosting the social development in the region to bring peace.

How the peacekeepers get power?

The United Nations Security Council empowers the United Nations Charter to take measures to maintain the international peace and security. Thus, the UN Security Council is engaged in deploying the peacekeepers to ensure stability and security in war prone regions.

India’s role in UN Peacebuilding

India actively takes part in the UN peacebuilding operations. So far, India has taken part in 49 Peacekeeping missions. Around 180,000 Indians troops are engaged in the mission. The most recent cooperation was in the South Sudan Conflict in the year 2014.

The economic survey for 2020-2021 will be tabled in the parliament on January 29, 2021 days before the presentation of Union Budget on February 1, 2021.

Key Facts

What is economic survey?

Significance of the Economic Survey?

The document helps in reviewing the development of the Indian economy over the past year. It also summarises the performance on major development programs besides highlighting the policy initiatives of the central government. The economic survey also projects the India’s GDP growth for the next fiscal and suggests measures to boost the growth. For the year 2020, the Economic Survey had projected growth of Indian economy by 6 to 6.5 per cent and had suggested new ideas for boosting the manufacturing like ‘assemble in India for the world’ which in turn created jobs. However, the growth was disrupted because of Covid-19 outbreak.

Recently, the Google workers from all around the globe have formed an international union called the “Alpha Global”. The new union has been named after Google’s parent company Alphabet. The union was formed in coordination with UNI Global Union.

About Alpha Global

What is the need of Global Union?

The problems created by Alphabet are not limited to any one country. It is problematic to all of them. These problems can easily be addressed on a global level. Formation of such global Unions will help in finding solutions.

Alphabet Workers Union (AMU)

The alphabet workers union was launched by the United States and Canada. It is a minority union. It initially had over 200 workers affiliated with the Communications Workers of America. Within a week, AWU grew to over 700 members.

UNI Global Union

It was earlier known as the Union Network International (UNI). It is a global union federation for skills and services. It helps in gathering the national and regional trade unions. It is based in Nyon, Switzerland. This union federation represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 different countries in the skills and services sectors. The union represents the Cleaning & Security, Graphical & Packaging, Hair & Beauty, Information, Communication, Technology and Services Industry (ICTS). It also includes the Media, post and logistics, Entertainment and Arts, Private Care and Social Insurance, Women and Youth.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is in process of examining if India needs a new central bank digital currency (CBDC) and is exploring ways to operationalise the digital currency.

Highlights

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

It is a legal tender and a central bank liability in digital form. The digital currency is denominated in a sovereign currency. It also appears on the balance sheet of the central bank. This is an electronic version of currency which can be converted or exchanged with the similar denominated cash and the traditional central bank deposits.

Background

The Reserve Bank of India in the RBI bulletin of the February cited that central banks have conducted the survey by the Bank for International Settlements. During the survey, it was found that around 80 percent of the 66 responding central banks have started projects to explore the use of CBDC.

Why India did not use cryptocurrencies?

India has always been skeptical of the privately owned cryptocurrencies. The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das himself did not support the cryptocurrencies. He cited that; the sovereign can be the only issuer of currency in India. Later in December 2019, said that it is early to talk about a central bank-issued digital currency because of the technological handicaps. Further, the central government has also been against the privately issued cryptocurrencies. The government has also introduced the bill in Parliament that seeks to ban the privately held digital currencies completely. However, the bill is lying dormant.

Supreme Court’s stand

Recently, In March 2020, Supreme Court of India also upturned the RBI’s ban on banks dealing with crypto exchanges. Thus, the decision has allowed crypto exchanges to restart their operations India.

Cryptocurrency

It is a digital asset that work as a medium of exchange. In the system, individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger in the form of computerized database. To secure the transaction, strong cryptography is used. The currency does not exist in the physical form or paper money form. Bitcoin is the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was released in 2009.

India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day. The Republic Day Parade this year was though muted amid the COVID-19 pandemic and no chief guest was invited. But this year, Bangladesh Army contingent marched down the Rajpath.

Why Bangladesh Forces marched?

The Bangladesh Army Contingent participated in the parade to mark the completion of 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistani rule. The victory was one of the finest military victories and the world has rarely witnesses the military campaign like India-Pakistan war of 1971. Thus, to mark the Golden Jubilee of the war, Bangladesh Forces marched along with the Indian Forces.

Background

The War was fought with the Pakistan in which Indian forces and Bangladesh Forces were united.  122-personnel strong contingent from Bangladesh fought alongside the Indian Army in the war. War continued for 14-day and resulted in the largest surrender of an opposing army.

Mukti Bahini

Mukti Bahini is the Bangladesh Forces. The force was the guerrilla resistance movement that comprises of the Bangladeshi military, paramilitary and civilians in the War of Liberation. It was earlier called as the Mukti Fauj.  Mukti Bahini also comprise of the civilian Gonobahini meaning the People’s Force). Z Force led by Major Ziaur Rahman, K Force led by Major Khaled Mosharraf and S Force led by Major K M Shafiullah were some of the prominent forces during the war.

India-Bangladesh Relation

The relation between India and Bangladesh is defined on the basis of civilisation, cultural, social and economic. A shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, Literature, passion for music and arts are some of the areas that unites both the countries. For Instance, Rabindranath Tagore wrote the national anthems of both Bangladesh and India in 1905 and 1911 respectively. The cooperation and coordination between the Indian Army and Bangladeshi Mukti Bahini dates back to March 1971 or the India-Pakistan war of 1971. Now that cooperation and coordination is part of folklore and shared history of both the nations.

Rajasthan has launched a new School of Public Health. The school was launched in order to make the policy intervention to build the public health capacity and skills. It will also help in bridging the gaps between education and practices in Rajasthan.

Highlights

First Project

The school of Public Health has taken up a study on non-communicable diseases, climate change and antimicrobial resistance in the first instance of its project. The project was undertaken in order to identify priority areas in public healthcare. Study will be conducted if the data analytics and artificial intelligence are the segments for the public health sector or not.

Public health

The science and art of preventing disease is called as Public Health. This science helps in prolonging life and improving the quality of life through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, different public & private organizations, communities and individuals. Public Health analyses the determinants of health and the threats faced by the population. This concept incorporates the physical, psychological, and social well-being. The World Bank Organization says, the public health is not only the absence of disease or infirmity but a resource for everyday living.

Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA captured the images of the NGC 4535 which is also known as the “Lost Galaxy”.  The image highlights that the young and hot stars that hang out are the bright blue spots. On the other hand, older and cooler stars are highlighted by the bright shades nearer to the center.

Background

An amateur astronomer Leland S. Copeland fixed his telescope lens on a distant galaxy in the Virgo constellation first in 1950s. He then withnessed an eerie spiral that was shrouded in dust. He named the spiral as “The Lost Galaxy”.

About the Lost Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

The concept of the Spiral Galaxy was first described by Edwin Hubble in 1936 The Spiral galaxy is the most common type of galaxy in universe. It has a spiral shape because of long arm full of stars. The galaxy extends from the center into the galactic disc. The galaxy comprises of a flat, rotating disk containing the stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars called as bulge. It is surrounded by a much fainter halo of stars.

Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released the “World Economic Outlook, 2021” report.

Key Findings of report

Concerns raised by report

The report however highlighted that access to medical interventions, exposure to cross-country effectiveness of policy support, exposure to cross-country spill overs, and structural characteristics are entering into crisis. This might result into the variations in the strength of the recovery across countries.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

IMF is an international financial institution. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The institution comprises of 190 countries that works together to boost the global monetary cooperation, facilitate international trade, secure financial stability, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth. It depends on the World Bank for its resources. It was established in the year 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference.  However, it formally came into existence in 1945 when there were 29 member countries.

World Economic Outlook (WEO)

This report is prepared by the International Monetary Fund. It analyses key parts of the IMF’s surveillance of economic developments and policies. The report is usually prepared twice a year.

The President of U.S., Joe Biden, signed the executive order in a bid to tighten the “Buy American” requirements in the federal government procurement. This move by the President is the first step toward fulfilling his campaign promise.

Highlights

Aim of the Executive Order

 Buy American Act

This act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Hoover on his last full day in. The act ensures that the United States government is preferring the U.S.-made products in its purchases. This act is different than the “Buy America Act”. Under the act, exceptions could be given in certain cases if the domestic product is 25% or more expensive than a similar foreign-sourced product or if it is being done in the public’s interest. This act can be waived by the President.

Section 165 or the “Buy America” Act

The act applies to mass-transit-related procurements. The act was established to give preference to the use the domestically produced materials on any procurements funded by the federal funds.

Punjab has defeated champions Karnataka by nine wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy recently. The defeat, at the Motera Stadium, was the result of Siddharth Kaul’s three-wicket haul and Prabhsimran Singh’s unbeaten 49-run knock. Following the win, Punjab has reached to the semi-finals on the other hand, Karnataka has been knocked out. Now, Punjab will face the winner of the Baroda-Haryana match in the second semi-final.

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

This trophy is a Twenty20 cricket domestic championship which is organized by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The matches are organised among the teams from Ranji Trophy. The trophy was started in 2009-10 season. It has been named Indian cricketer, Syed Mushtaq Ali.

Ranji Trophy

It is a domestic first-class cricket championship. It is played between multiple teams representing the regional and state cricket associations. Currently, 38 teams take part in the trophy. It has been named after the first Indian cricketer who played international cricket, Ranjitsinhji (‘Ranji’).

Syed Mushtaq Ali

He was a right-handed batsman. He was the first Indian player who scored the first overseas Test century. He had scored 112 against England at Old Trafford in the year 1936. He was also a left arm orthodox spin bowler.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)

It is the governing body for cricket in India. It was established in December 1928 as a society. It is registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. The headquarters of the body is in Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Grant Govan was the first president of the body while Anthony De Mello the first secretary. Currently, Sourav Ganguly is its President.

Twenty20 cricket or Twenty-20

This is the shorter form of cricket which was first introduced by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in the year 2003. Under it, the match is restricted to 20 overs. It is recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as being at the highest international or domestic level