Daily Current Affairs - 05-07-021

Reserve Bank of India (RBI), while reviewing market conditions and market borrowing program of government, has decided that benchmark securities of 2-year tenor, 3-year tenor, 5-year tenor, 10-year tenor & 14-year tenor and Floating Rate Bonds (FRBs) will be issued using uniform price auction method. However, for benchmark securities of 30-year and 40-year, auction will continue to be multiple price-based auction.

What is Government Security?

G-sec is a tradable instrument which is issued by Central Government or State Governments. It acknowledges Government’s debt obligation. G-Secs are of two types:

  1. Short Term– They are usually called treasury bills. They have original maturities of less than one year. It is issued in three tenors viz., 91-day, 182-day and 364-day.
  2. Long Term– They are usually called Government bonds or dated securities having original maturity of one year and more.

Who issues these securities?

In India, Treasury bills and bonds or dated securities are issued by central government while State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities. Bonds issued by State governments are called as State Development Loans (SDLs).

Risk Associated with G-Secs

G-Secs carries no risk of default. Thus, they are also called as “risk-free gilt-edged” instruments. Gilt-edged securities are high-grade investment bonds which are offered by governments and large corporations to borrow funds.

Background

Dutch Republic was the first state to finance its debt through bonds. It assumed bonds issued by city of Amsterdam in 1517. The average interest rate fluctuated around 20% then.

Digital payments platform PhonePe has tied hands with Flipkart to launch a contactless ‘Scan and Pay’ feature for Flipkart’s pay-on-delivery orders.

Key Points

About PhonePe

PhonePe, founded in December 2015, is an Indian digital payments and financial services. It is headquartered in Bangalore, India. It was founded by Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari and Burzin Engineer. This app is based on Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The app went live in August 2016. The app is available across 11 Indian languages. It is used to send & receive money, data cards, recharge mobile, DTH, pay at shops, make utility payments, invest in tax saving funds and liquid Funds. It can be used to buy insurance, mutual funds and gold. PhonePe also allows users to book Ola rides, pay for Redbus tickets, book flights & book hotels on Goibibo using Switch platform.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

UPI is an instant real-time payment system which was developed by National Payments Corporation of India. It facilitates inter-bank transactions. UPI are regulated by Reserve Bank of India. It works by transferring funds between two bank accounts on mobile platform, instantly.

Officials of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are conducting raids across several districts in Uttar Pradesh in connection with alleged scam in Gomti River Front Development Project.

Key Points

Background

Gomti Riverfront Development Project This project was launched in 2015 by previous Samajwadi Party led Uttar Pradesh government with Akhilesh Yadav as chief minister. Many prominent environmentalists have pointed out that the project was seen as an interference in river systems.

Controversy surrounding the project

Gomti riverfront development project is controversial as the Gomti river has been stressed in and around Lucknow. Three major issues with the project are:

  1. Construction of high embankments around the Gomati River to protect population of Lucknow is altering river’s natural floodplain.
  2. Gomti River has 40 natural drains. 23 of them are major. Drains were carrying surplus water into river during monsoon and recharged underground water table. But now those drains are carrying residential and industrial sewage into river.
  3. River’s floodplains and fertile land were covered with residential areas, including Gomti Nagar and Triveni Nagar. But Gomti River started receding during late 1970s. In 2016, it was under major stress.

Gomti River

It is a tributary of Ganges. As per Hindu beliefs, river is daughter of Rishi Vashisht and bathing in Gomti river on Ekadashi can wash away sins.

Supreme Court has issued a notice to Centre on use of Section 66A of IT Act which was scrapped in 2015.

What is the issue?

What is section 66A of IT Act?

Section 66A of IT Act provides for punishment of a maximum of three years in jail and a fine on sending “offensive” messages through computer or any other communication device such as mobile phone or tablet. This section was used to punish online communication which is considered “offensive & menacing and “false to cause annoyance, inconvenience, insult, danger, obstruction, injury, hatred, criminal intimidation or ill will.”

When did SC Struck this provision?

SC had struck down this provision on March 24, 2015. SC noted the provision as “vague and arbitrary”. Section 66A was dubbed as “draconian” as it allowed arrest of several innocent persons.  It was declared unconstitutional in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India case. SC noted that Section 66A invades right of free speech under article 19(1) (a) of Constitution.

As per Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, India is working on its rights to stop excess water flowing to Pakistan under Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 to irrigate its own lands.

Background

India and Pakistan had signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations. World Bank was also a signatory.

Indus Water Treaty 1960

Indus water treat was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960. Under the treaty, all waters of three eastern rivers viz., Ravi, Sutlej and Beas were allocated to India to use exclusively.  On the other hand, waters of Western rivers viz., Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab were allocated to Pakistan. However, India was given exception to use waters of western rivers for specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use. India has also been given right to generate hydroelectricity under run of the river projects on Western Rivers. It is subject to specific criteria for design and unrestricted operation.

Indus River System

Indus River System comprises of River Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. This basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan. China and Afghanistan are also having small share.

The Indus

Indus is a transboundary river in Asia and a trans-Himalayan River of South & East Asia. The river flows for a distance of 3,180 km after rising in Western Tibet. It flows northwest through Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan regions of Kashmir. Then it bends sharply towards left after Nanga Parbat massif.  It flows through Pakistan before draining into Arabian Sea near Karachi.

As per Bloomberg data, India accounted for 2.60% of world market capitalisation in June 2021.

Highlights

What is Market Capitalisation?

Market capitalization is commonly called as market cap. It is the market value of outstanding shares of publicly traded company. It is equal to share price multiplied by number of shares outstanding. Market cap can be used as an indicator of public opinion of net worth of company as outstanding stock is bought and sold in public markets. It also acts as a determining factor in some forms of stock valuation.

Publicly Traded Company

Publicly Traded Company, also called as Public Company, is a publicly held company & publicly listed company. It is a company whose ownership is organized by shares of stock which is freely traded on stock exchange or in over-the-counter markets. Such companies can be listed on stock exchange to facilitate trade of shares.

CoWIN Global Conclave will be held on July 5, 2021. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to share his thoughts at CoWIN Global Conclave.

Highlights

About CoWIN Global Conclave

About Co-WIN Portal

Co-WIN portal was developed by central information technology (IT) system to strategize, implement, monitor and evaluate Covid vaccination. CoWIN stands for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work. It is government’s web portal to register for COVID-19 vaccination. Portal displays slots of COVID-19 vaccine available in nearby areas. Slots can be booked on website. Registration for vaccination slots can be booked same day or few days prior. Platform has been integrated in Aarogya Setu and UMANG Apps. Certificate after COVID-19 vaccination can be obtained through platform. Three vaccines Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V can be registered through platform as of now. Portal started offering vaccination for frontline workers of India on January 16, 2021.

Leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Pushkar Singh Dhami, took oath as eleventh chief minister of Uttarakhand.

Highlights

Who is Pushkar Singh Dhami?

Pushkar Singh Dhami, aged 45, is a lawmaker from Khatima assembly constituency. He has become the youngest chief minister of Uttarakhand, succeeding MP Tirath Singh Rawat. He never had held any ministerial position before being elevated as chief minister. Dhami was unanimous choice of all 56 members of BJP’s legislature party.

Why Tirath Singh Rawat resigned?

Tirath Singh Rawat had resigned because of uncertainty over by polls he was required to win in order to continue as chief minister. As per rules, he had six months from his swearing in to be elected as member of legislative assembly to continue his term as Chief Minister. But the Election Commission of India (ECI) has option of not conducting bypolls if term of assembly is expiring in less than a year. Under this scenario, Rawat became ineligible to stay in office.

Background

Assembly elections in Uttarakhand is likely to take place in early 2022. Last elections were held in 2017, in which BJP won 56 of state’s 70 assembly constituencies. BJP leader Trivendra Singh Rawat took oath as the chief minister of State then.

Authorities in Srinagar district have banned storage, sale, possession, use and transport of drones and similar kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs_ within the territorial jurisdiction of district.

What orders were issued?

Why this order was passed?

This order was passed in the backdrop of a drone attack on Jammu Air Force Station on June 27 using drones. This drone attack is being seen as a display of capability and an attempt to put pressure on fragile ceasefire which is being maintained along the Line of Control (LoC) since February 2021. It also aimed at disrupting political process in Kashmir.

Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened on July 3, 2021 and its center approached south-central Cuba.

Highlights

About Hurricane Elsa

Elsa is an active tropical cyclone which is affecting and threatening portions of Caribbean and South-eastern United States. It is the fifth named storm and first hurricane of Atlantic hurricane season 2021. On June 29, Elsa was first monitored by National Hurricane Center (NHC) as a tropical wave. It was then designated as Potential Tropical Cyclone. As the storm showed better-defined low-level circulation, cyclone was upgraded to tropical depression and later, to Tropical Storm Elsa. Storm Elsa was upgraded to Category 1 hurricane. It is the strongest July hurricane in eastern Caribbean Sea after Hurricane Emily in 2005. It is also the fastest-moving Atlantic tropical cyclone.

National Hurricane Center (NHC)

NHC is a division of United States’ National Weather Service which is responsible to track and predict tropical weather systems between Prime Meridian & 140th meridian to 30th parallel north in northeast Pacific Ocean & 31st parallel north in northern Atlantic Ocean. It is located with Miami branch of National Weather Service and is established on campus of Florida International University in University Park, Florida.

Tropical cyclone

It is a rapidly rotating storm system. It is characterized by low-pressure center, strong winds, closed low-level atmospheric circulation and spiral arrangement of thunderstorms producing heavy rain. Based on location and strength, tropical cyclone is referred by different names like hurricane typhoon, tropical storm, tropical depression, cyclonic storm or cyclone. Hurricane is a tropical cyclone occurring in Atlantic Ocean and north-eastern Pacific Ocean. Typhoon occurs in north-western Pacific Ocean.

Union government is set to launch a new scheme called “NIPUN Bharat Initiative” on July 5, 2021. It will be launched to improve numeracy, foundational reading, and understanding for early-stage students.

About ‘NIPUN Bharat Mission’

Which is the implementing agency?

NIPUN Bharat initiative will be implemented by school education department of Union government. In order to implement it, a five-tier implementation mechanism will be set up at national, state, district, block, and school levels across all states and Union territories.

Why this scheme was launched?

Foundational learning has been a drawback in Indian schools. As per Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) findings, for successive years bulk of Indian students pursuing elementary education in schools cannot even read, understand or do basic arithmetic. Thus, this initiative was launched to tackle this issue. This scheme is in line with new education policy.

ASER Findings 2020

Ayurveda dataset on Clinical Trial Registry-India (CTRI) Portal will be launched on July 5, 2021 by Ayush Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju.

Highlights

What is Clinical Trial Registry-India (CTRI)?

CTRI is primary register of Clinical Trials under the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) by World Health Organisation (WHO).  Creation of Ayurveda dataset in CTRI facilitates will make use of Ayurveda terminologies to record clinical study meta data on the basis of Ayurveda interventions. Till date, clinical trials in Ayurveda were dependent on terminology borrowed from modern medicine. With this portal and joint efforts of ICMR and CCRAS, Ayurvedic terminology has become part of CTRI.

Features of CTRI Portal

Key feature of this digital platform is provision of selection of Ayurveda Health conditions from drop down of 3866 Ayurveda morbidity codes. These codes have been incorporated from NAMASTE portal (developed by AYUSH Ministry). On NAMASTE portal, morbidity statistics pertaining to Ayurveda has been classified as per International Classification of Diseases standards.  Thus information & results of Ayurveda Clinical Trials will be available in Ayurvedic vocabulary in clinical trials registry of India.

Why Clinical Registry was created?

Clinical trials are being conducted continuously worldwide on new drug discovery & treatment of diseases. But the results of these tests are not publicly available. As a result, there is a possibility of not having accurate information regarding trials. Thus, WHO has made it mandatory to create an online registry of clinical trials.

In last two days,  194 crocodiles have been relocated from Panchmuli lake near Statue of Unity in Narmada district, Gujarat.

Highlights

Background

In between October & March, 2019-20, 143 crocodiles were relocated. In 2020-21, 51 crocodiles were shifted to two rescue centres in Gandhinagar and Godhra. In 2019-20, 73 rescued crocodiles were released into Sardar Sarovar reservoir.

About Panchmuli lake

This lake is also known as ‘Dyke-3’ of Sardar Sarovar Dam. It was developed for tourists visiting the Statue of Unity. Lake is located about 5 km away from Statue of Unity. It offers a clear view of Vindhyachal mountain range and Sardar Sarovar Dam.

About Statue of Unity

It is a colossal statue of Indian statesman, independence activist, first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of independent India; Sardar Vallabhbhai Bhai Patel. Statue is located in Gujarat. It is dubbed as world’s tallest statue having a height of 182 metres. It is located on Narmada River in Kevadiya colony. It faces the Sardar Sarovar Dam 100 kilometres southeast of Vadodara city in Gujarat and 150 kilometres from Surat. Kevadia railway station is located at the distance of 5 kilometres from Statue of Unity. This project was first announced in 2010. Its construction started in October 2013 by Larsen & Toubro. It has been designed by Indian sculptor Ram V. Sutar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the statue on October 31, 2018, to mark 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.

Chinese astronauts have successfully performed China’s first tandem spacewalk on July 4, 2021. They worked for seven hours outside new Tiangong station in orbit around the Earth.

Key Points

What was the purpose of Spacewalk?

Astronauts conducted the spacewalk with the objective of elevating a panoramic camera outside Tianhe core module and to test station’s robotic arm which will be used to transfer future modules on station. Astronauts installed foot stops on robotic arm and carried out other assembly work.

Tiangong Space Station

This space station is placed in low Earth orbit at the distance between 340 and 450 km above the surface. Once completed, it will be about one-fifth if mass of International Space Station and equal to the size of decommissioned Russian Mir space station. Its mass is expected to have between 80t and 100t. Operations of the Space Station will be controlled from Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Centre in China. Tianhe in its core module which was launched on April 29, 2021. Tianhe means “Harmony of the Heavens”.