Daily Current Affairs - 29-01-2021

The government has announced for the launch of Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) on January 29, 2021.

Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS)

Which start-ups are eligible under the scheme?

Conditions for Incubators

As per the eligibility conditions, the incubators must be legal entities. It must be operational for at least 2 years on the date of application to the scheme.  Further, it should have at least five start-ups undergoing incubation physically and should have the seating capacity for at least 25 individuals. They should have a full-time CEO and a capable team.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2020-21 in the Lok Sabha on January 29, 2021.

Highlights

The Economic Survey of India

It is the flagship annual document released by the Ministry of Finance. The document is presented in the parliament just before the Union Budget by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. The document is prepared under the guidance of the Chief Economic Adviser of India. During the budget session, this document is presented to both the houses of the parliament. The document is non-binding in nature.

Background

The first ever Economic Survey of India was presented in 1950-51. It was presented as a part of the Union Budget. The survey got separated from the Union Budget after the year 1964.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the union territory of Ladakh recently signed an agreement for the development of the Union Territory through Science and Technology (S&T) interventions.

About the MoU

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

CSIR was established by the Government of India in September 1942. It was established as an autonomous body which now is the largest research and development organisation in India. The body is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology. It is functional as an autonomous body under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The body is involved into various research and development activities such as structural engineering aerospace engineering, ocean sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, food, life sciences, petroleum, leather, and environmental science.

The Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education, and the World Bank have signed the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) project on January 28, 2021. The project is a financial support agreement.

STARS Project

Funding to the Project

Background

The STARS project was approved by the Union Cabinet under NEP 2020 in October 2020.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

It is an international financial institution. It was established in the year 1944. The IBRD is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. IBRD is the lending arm of World Bank Group. It offers loans to the middle-income developing countries.

The Covid-19 Response Index was provided by Sydney-based Lowy Institute, recently. The study was based on the number of key indicators such as confirmed cases, cases per million people, deaths and deaths per million people.

Key findings of the index

About the Index

The indicators used for ranking the countries point out that how well or poorly countries have managed the pandemic. An average of the rankings was given across the six indicators. Then it was normalised for each country so as to produce a score between 0 for the worst performing and 100 for best performing. The study was conducted for 36 weeks.

The Lowy Institute

It is an independent think tank that was founded in April 2003. It was founded by Frank Lowy. The think tank is involved in conducting the original, policy-relevant research about the international political, strategic and economic issues. The institute is based in Sydney, Australia. The institute is funded by donations from the investment management firm, Manikay Partners.

The fifth joint meeting of the India-Japan Act East Forum was held between India and Japan on January 28, 2021. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Ambassador of Japan to India, Suzuki Satoshi.

Highlights

Act East Forum

The act east forum was established in the year 2017. The agreement to established the forum was signed in September 2017 during the visit of Prime Minister Abe to India. This platform works in line with the Japan’s vision for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and India-Japan collaboration in the North Eastern Region under India’s “Act East Policy”.

Act East Policy

The act east policy was launched in November 2014 at the East Asia Summit in Myanmar. The policy was launched with the focus on the economic and security integration. The policy mainly focusses on the area like South East Asia and the East Asia. This policy is said to be the modification of the Look East Policy.

Look East Policy

The look east policy of India was launched by the former Prime Minister  P.V. Narasimha Rao in the year 1991. This policy was launched then with the aim of shifting the India’s trading focus from the west and neighbours to the South East Asian countries. This policy was discontinued in 2014 with the enactment of Act east policy.

Recently, India joined the world and Light Up Qutub Minar as a sign of unity to combat the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NDT).

Highlights

What are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)?

NTD cases in India

World NTD Day

It is an awareness day that addresses the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). World NTD Day was celebrated on January 20, 2020 for the first time.  The date, January 30, marks the anniversary of the 2012 London Declaration on NTDs. The London declaration had unified the partners across sectors, countries and disease communities for a greater cooperation, investment and action on NTDs.

India and France will launch the Year of Environment. It will be launched by the Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and his French counterpart Ms. Barbara Pompili in a bid to strengthen the ecological partnership.

Highlights

Agenda of the meeting

India’s achievement in climate change action

India has made significant efforts in the climate change action. India achieved 26 per cent of reduction of emission intensity so far. The renewable capacity in India stands at 90 Giga Watt as of 2020. It also includes 36 Giga Watt of solar energy and 38 Giga Watt of wind energy

The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has released ‘Marine Mega Fauna Stranding Guidelines’ and ‘National Marine Turtle Action Plan’ recently to create a conservation paradigm for the marine mega fauna and marine turtles.

Highlights

What was the need of action plan?

Challenges faced by Marine Resources

The marine resources and habitats have immense economic, ecological and cultural values in India. But, the marine mega fauna species and marine turtles face a wide variety of challenges. The challenges include stranding and entanglement.

The Gender Park in Kozhikode, Kerala will open from next month. The park will become functional on the occasion of the second edition of the International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE-II).

Highlights

International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE-II)

The ICGE is an initiative by the Gender Park. The second edition of the conference will be inaugurated with the objective of exploring the measures to boost the economic potential of women and transgender persons. It will help them to be equipped as sustainable entrepreneurs. The conference will be organised under the theme: “Gender in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Business: The Mediating Role of Empowerment”. This event will be organised in collaboration with the UN Women.

The Gender Park

The gender park was established by the government of Kerala in 2013. It is an initiative that work towards gender equality and empowerment in Kerala. The headquartered for the initiative is in the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. However, the main campus is at Silver Hills, Kozhikode. The campus has an area of 24-acre. The park has been set with its main focus on gender justice. The platform will provide an environment for policy analysis, research, capacity development, advocacy, economic and social initiative. The park will be operational under the Department of Social Justice. This space is first of its kind across the world.

Aim of Gender Park

The gender park was established with the aim of creating relevant interventions so as to address a range of gender-based issues. It includes both off-campus and on-campus activities and other projects that work to empower the individuals and communities.

India has extended its “Vaccine Maitri Initiative” to Sri-Lanka now. As per the agreement, India dispatched 500000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Sri Lanka as grant assistance. The vaccine maitri initiative has delivered nearly five million doses to seven countries in the neighbourhood, till date.

Background

The delivery of vaccines which has been made by the Serum Institute of India is in light with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to the Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa during. PM Modi had committed in September 2020 during a virtual summit to provide all the possible support in order to minimise the health and economic impacts of the pandemic in Sri Lanka.

Vaccine Maitri Initiative

Commercial supplies of Covishield

India has also supplied the two million doses of Covishield to each of Brazil and Morocco, and five million doses to Bangladesh. Further, the doses will be supplied to South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

India’s Vaccine Diplomacy

PACT programme

The PACT programme was launched to support the COVID-19 vaccine development activities in partnering countries. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and Clinical Development Services Agency (CDSA) under the aegis of the National Biopharma Mission and Ind-CEPI Mission of DBT are the implementing agencies of the programme.

A rare maritime mineral, Jarosite, has been found in the Antarctica ice. It was discovered after drilling deep into Antarctic ice.

What the discovery signifies?

The recently discovered mineral was examined and it was found that it was formed in pockets within the ice. This supports the theory of presence of jarosite on MARS in as similar manner.  It signifies that, the minerals are able to form in thick deposits on mars because the planet is a lot dustier than Antarctica.

What is Jarosite?

Why Jarosite is found on Mars?

The reason for the presence of the mineral on the Mars (Red Planet) is not yet determined. The scientists believe that when the planet was covered with ice millennials ago sulphate, iron, and potassium might get trapped in the form of dust. This believe is not accepted because dust and ice have never chemically reacted to form minerals. Though ice provided a suitable environment for the transformation of dust to the mineral.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released its “Global Climate Litigation Report 2021”. The report was published by the UNEP in cooperation with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. The report highlights that the Climate litigation cases have increased in recent years. The litigations have made the courtroom increasingly relevant to efforts to address the climate change across the world.

Key Findings of the report

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP, which is also called UN Environment, was established by Maurice Strong in June1972 following the UN conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The organisation involves in coordinating the responses to environmental issues within the United Nations system. It provides the leadership, deliver science and develop the solutions on issues like climate change, management of marine & terrestrial ecosystems and green economic development. It also develops the international environmental agreement and helps in achieving the environmental targets. The primary aim of the UNEP is to help the world to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Environmental agreements such as the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Convention on Migratory Species are organised by UNEP. It also helps in implementing the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol and Global Environment Facility (GEF).