Daily Current Affairs - 12-07-2021

Khadi and Village Industry Commission (KVIC) has secured trademark registration for its brand name “Khadi” in three countries viz., Mexico, Bhutan and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Key Points

Background

KVIC has had trademark registrations in certain classes of word “Khadi” in five countries – United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Russia and China besides European Union, till date.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)

KVIC is a statutory body established in April 1957. It was established during 2nd Five Year plan, under the ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’. It works under Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  KVIC seeks to “plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in establishing and developing khadi and village industries across rural areas in association with other agencies engaged in rural development. It is headquartered in Mumbai. It has its six zonal offices across Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati.

Trademark of KVIC

KVIC has exclusive rights to use trademark ”Khadi” and “Khadi India”. National Internet Exchange of India Domain Dispute Policy (INDRP) Arbitration Tribunal had rejected the claim by private entity that “Khadi” is a generic word.

About Khadi

It refers to hand-spun and hand-woven cloth. Raw materials like cotton, silk, or wool can be spun into threads on charkha (traditional spinning implement) to obtain khadi. It was launched in 1920 as a political weapon in Swadeshi movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Khadi is sourced from different parts of India:

  1. Silk variety of Khadi is sourced from West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and North Eastern states,
  2. Cotton variety is sourced from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
  3. Khadi poly in Gujarat and Rajasthan
  4. Woollen variety is obtained from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Karnataka

Cuba has developed world’s first conjugate Covid-19 vaccine Soberana 2 (Sovereign 2).

Highlights

How Soberana 2 is administered?

Soberana 2 vaccine is administered in three dose regimens. It comprises of two shots of Soberana 2 and one shot of Soberana Plus. It is administered in 0-28-56-day regimen.

Who developed the vaccine?

Soberana 2 is one of the three vaccines in Soberana series. It was developed by Finlay Institute in collaboration with Centre for Molecular Immunology and National Biopreparations Centre. Four other vaccines are also being developed in Cuba.

How vaccine was developed?

All the five vaccines in Cuba, are protein vaccines. These vaccines were developed using the protein derived from SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus binds to human cells and trigger an immune response. Soberana 2 is unique among Cuban vaccines as it only kind of “conjugate vaccine” combining receptor-binding domain of virus with deactivated form of tetanus.

Vaccine Production in Cuba

Cuba produces 60-70 percent of medicines which are consumed domestically and vaccinates against 13 diseases with 11 vaccines. 8 of the vaccines are produced in Cuba itself.

What is a conjugate vaccine?

The type of vaccine combining weak antigen with strong antigen as a carrier so that an immune system strongly response to a weak antigen, is called as conjugate vaccine. Such vaccines are used to prevent diseases by building an immune response to antigen (foreign part of virus or bacteria) recognised by immune system.

As per a recent STRiDE -I study, under the current scenario, risk of cardiovascular (CV) diseases is going to increase in urban and rural population in Tamil Nadu in the future.

Highlights

Key findings of the study

Way Forward

According to study, there is an increasing secular trend in CV risk factors across urban and rural areas in Tamil Nadu. So, study has called for innovative methods to reach rural population. It suggests to improve and expand facilities of prevention and appropriate treatment of metabolic diseases like diabetes and CV diseases.

British billionaire, Richard Branson, soared for 50 miles above New Mexico desert on his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. He also made safe return in vehicle’s first fully crewed test flight to space.

Highlights

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic is a British-American spaceflight company, operating in United States. It was founded by Richard Branson. His Virgin Group retains a 24% stake in it. It is a developing commercial spacecraft that aims to provide suborbital space flights to space tourists. Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft are air launched from a carrier airplane called White Knight Two. Virgin Galactic did early work on satellite launch development of LauncherOne in 2017.

About recent flight

Space flight reached its high-altitude launch point at about 46,000 feet, where Unity was released from mothership and fell away when crew ignited vehicle’s rocket. Spaceplane’s contrail was visible from ground when it soared through upper atmosphere. At the apex of climb, rocket shut down and crew experienced few minutes of microgravity before spaceplane shifted into re-entry mode.  Virgin has planned at least two further test flights of spaceplane before starting its regular commercial operation in 2022. Ticket for spaceplane has been priced at around $250,000 per ticket.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited people to send nominations for Padma Awards 2022. Padma Awards are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day.

About Padma Awards

Padma awards are the highest civilian honors in India. As of 2020, 3123 people have received them. These awards are conferred in three categories

  1. Padma Vibhushan- This award is given for exceptional and distinguished service,
  2. Padma Bhushan- It is given for distinguished service of higher order and
  3. Padma Shri- It is given to honor distinguished service.

Background

Padma Awards were instituted in 1954. These are awarded to citizens of India to recognise their distinguished contribution across various spheres of activity such as education, arts, literature, industry, sports, science, medicine, social service and public affairs. It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who contributed to India in various ways but were not citizens of India.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria have been criticized in India with the claim that many highly deserving artists have been left out while certain individuals have been favored. So, India has now created an online nomination platform for common citizens to recommend nomination for awards. Nominations are scrutinized by Padma Awards Committee, constituted by Prime Minister every year. Later, awards are presented on the recommendations of this Committee.

About the trophy

Words Padma (meaning lotus in Sanskrit) and Vibhushan, Bhushan & Shri finds its mention in Devanagari above and below a lotus flower on the medal. Geometrical pattern on either side is in burnished bronze while embossing is in gold.

Much-awaited National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC) will soon come up in Patna. Process to set up the research centre has started.

Key facts

Project Dolphin

Project Dolphin was started on the lines of Project Tiger, which has helped in increasing tiger population. This initiative got in-principle approval in December 2019 at first meeting of National Ganga Council (NGC), headed by the Prime Minister. This is a “Special Conservation program” taken up to save the Gangetic Dolphin. This project will be implemented by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

What are the concerns?

Dolphin habitat has been threatened and disturbed in River Ganga. Thus, NDRC is now conservation efforts of dolphins. NDRC will provide an opportunity for in-depth research on dolphins including on changing behavior, food habits, survival skills, cause of death and other such aspects.

Distribution of Dolphin

Dolphin is found in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Bihar is home to half of estimated 3,000 Gangetic dolphins in India.

About Gangetic River dolphin

Gangetic Dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal. It has been listed as Schedule I animal under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It has been declared “endangered” by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Gangetic Dolphin is one among four freshwater dolphin species across world. Other three freshwater dolphins are found in Yangtze River in China (they have extinct now), Indus River in Pakistan and Amazon River in South America. It is blind and finds its way & prey in river waters through echolocation. They prefer water at least five to eight feet deep and are usually found in turbulent waters, where they can find enough fish for them.

Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, inaugurated India’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility plant at Nagpur.

Highlights

Liquefied natural gas (LNG)

LNG is natural gas, mainly methane (CH4) with some mixture of ethane (C2H6), that has been cooled down to liquid form for easier non-pressurized storage & transport. It takes up around 1/600th of volume of natural gas in gaseous state. It is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive gas.

How LNG is produced?

LNG is produced from hydrocarbon deposits containing a wide range of hydrocarbon products like methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10). These products have wide boiling points and different heating values which allow for different routes of commercialization. Acidic elements like hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) along with oil, mud, water, and mercury, are removed from LNG to deliver clean sweetened stream of gas.

What are the associated risks?

If acidic elements and impurities are not removed, it could result in damage of equipment. Corrosion of steel pipes and amalgamation of mercury within cryogenic heat exchangers can also cause expensive damage.

Novak Djokovic has won his 6th Grand Slam Wimbledon Tennis Championship Title 2021.

Key Facts

Where the tournament was held?

Wimbledon Men’s Single Championship 2021 was held at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England.

Wimbledon Men’s Singles Championship

Wimbledon Championship is the oldest tennis tournament worldwide. It is widely regarded as most prestigious championship. It has been held since 1877 at All England Club in Wimbledon, London. It is played on outdoor grass courts. A retractable roof over Centre Court is used since 2009 while since 2019, it is used over No. 1 Court. Tournament is traditionally taken place over two weeks in late June & early July. However, in 2015 time of the event moved back by a week to begin in early July.

Background

Wimbledon is one among four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Other tournaments are Australian Open, French Open and US Open. Wimbledon is the only major tournament which is still played on traditional tennis playing surface, Grass.

Novak Djokovic

He is a Serbian professional tennis player, ranked as world No. 1 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He has been No. 1 for record of 329 weeks. He has also finished as year-end No. 1 on Open Era joint record six occasions. As of now, he has won 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles and 85 ATP singles titles.

Indian researchers have spotted an extremely bright, hydrogen deficient, fast-evolving supernova (SN).

Key points

What are Supernovae?

Background

SN 2020ank was first discovered by Zwicky Transient Facility on January 19, 2020. It was studied by scientists from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) Nainital. ARISE is a research institute under Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Under Modified Risk Management guidelines of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bankers working in sensitive positions such as treasury operations and currency chests, will get surprise holiday of at least 10 working days in a single spell per year.

Highlights

What are the revised norms?

What are sensitive positions?

As per 2015 circular of RBI, sensitive positions or areas of operations which are covered under ‘mandatory leave’ policy ranges from treasury, currency chests, risk modelling to model validation.

21st Session of India-Italy Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) was held recently.

Highlights

India-Italy Economic Cooperation

Bilateral trade between India and Italy has increased by 12 times in 2 decades. It has increased from EUR 708 million to EUR 8.5 billion in between 1991 and 2011. However, bilateral trade started declining since 2012. In 2017, both the countries had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance bilateral cooperation in the health sector. MoU envisages cooperation in health sector by pooling technical, financial and human resources. Activities carried under this MoU include exchange & training of doctors, setting health care facilities and promoting business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals. Italy is  5th largest trading partner of India in European Union and 25th across the World during 2017–18.

Background

20th Session of India-Italy Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) was held on February 26–27, 2019 in New Delhi. It was co-chaired by Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Michele Gerai, Deputy Minister of Economic Development.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a Global Mobility Aids Action Group in a bid to examine and improve transport journey of mobility aids, such as wheelchairs.

Mobility Aids Action Group

Why this action group was established?

Thousands of wheelchairs are transported safely by air, each year. However, damage or loss is still occurring. Such damage turns devastating for passenger as these devices are not just equipment but are extensions of their body. Thus, this action group was launched to aid mobility of equipment.

Members of Action Group

Mobility Aids Action Group will comprise of a full range of stakeholders impacted by this issue such as accessibility organizations (representing travellers with disabilities), ground service providers, airlines, airports and mobility aids manufacturers.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

IATA is a trade association of world’s airlines. It was founded in 1945. It helps in setting technical standards for airlines and organizes tariff conferences that serves as a forum to fix prices.  It comprises of 290 airlines, representing 117 countries. Member airlines of IATA account for carrying about 82% of total available seat miles air traffic. It also supports airline activity and helps in formulating industry policy and standards. Headquarter of IATA is in city of Montreal, Canada while its executive offices are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Uttar Pradesh government has proposed a population control bill titled The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021.

Highlights

Key provisions of the bill

Significance of the bill

Uttar Pradesh have limited ecological and economic resources at hand. Thus, it is necessary and urgent that basic necessities of human life such as housing, access to quality education, affordable food, safe drinking water, access to quality education, economic or livelihood opportunities, electricity and a secure living is accessible to all citizens. This bill will help in filling all the gaps. Bill will also ensure a healthy birth spacing to achieve goal of population control, stabilisation and its welfare across the state.


Three more Zika positive cases have been confirmed in Kerala.

About:

* Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus.

* Transmission: Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedesgenus, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions.  Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible.

* Symptom: The symptoms are similar to dengue and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.

Complications of Zika virus disease: 

* There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.

* Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth.

* In Guillain-Barre syndrome, the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. This can result in muscle weakness and loss of sensation in the legs and/or arms.

The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) plenary session ended its five-day deliberation and put out the list of countries that it has identified to have “strategic deficiencies”.

About:

* The Paris based UN watchdog that looks after issues like terrorism financing, money laundering and the flow of black money at the global level has retained Pakistan in the list of countries with “strategic deficiencies”. The list is generally referred to as the “grey list”.

* The grey listing by FATF shows that the issue of money laundering and consequent funding of illicit activities is fast spreading to other countries as well. The latest grey list includes countries like the Philippines, Malta, South Sudan and Haiti.

* The 39 member grouping works in close coordination with the UN Security Council which evaluates countries for commitment to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

Pakistan

* The FATF has noted that Pakistan has made progress in addressing several of the issues that the watchdog has been raising in its plenary sessions. However, Pakistan failed to implement the most crucial of the 27 action items: to act against terror masterminds facing UN sanctions.

* The latest move from FATF is expected to keep Pakistan under pressure to come clean on its links with the UN-designated terror masterminds Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Both LeT and JeM are a threat to India as well as to Afghanistan.


A group of polar biologists from India stumbled upon a plant species, during an expedition to Antarctica, in 2017. However, it was only recently, that the scientists could confirm that the plant species had been discovered for the first time.

About:

* The scientists from the Central University of Punjab discovered a rare, dark green plant species.

* The plant species was found at the Larsemann Hills, overlooking the Southern Ocean, near one of the world’s remotest research stations, Bharati.

* The plant species was later recognized as mosses.

* The novel plant species, discovered by Indian scientists in Antarctica is hailed Bryum Bharatiensis, by the scientists. The newly found moss species is named after the Hindu goddess, Bharati, who also lends her name to India’s research station in Antarctica.

* It is the first time, since the launch of the first research station in Antarctica, four decades ago, that India discovered a new plant species.

The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has been without a Speaker for most of this year. Last week, it concluded its two-day Monsoon Session without electing a Speaker.

About:

* Article 93 for Lok Sabha and Article 178 for state Assemblies state that these Houses “shall, as soon as may be”, choose two of its members to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

* The Constitution neither sets a time limit nor specifies the process for these elections. It leaves it to the legislatures to decide how to hold these elections.

* In Lok Sabha and state legislatures, the President/Governor sets a date for the election of the Speaker, and it is the Speaker who decides the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker.

* The legislators of the respective Houses vote to elect one among themselves to these offices.

* Haryana and Uttar Pradesh specify a time-frame for holding the election to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s offices.

* The Constitution provides that the office of the Speaker should never be empty. So, he continues in office until the beginning of the next House, except in the event of death or resignation.

Their roles

* The Speaker presides over the House proceedings and joint sittings of the two Houses of Parliament. It is the Speaker’s decision that determines whether a Bill is a Money Bill and therefore outside of the purview of the other House.

* The Deputy Speaker is independent of the Speaker, not subordinate to him, as both are elected from among the members of the House.

* Since Independence, the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker’s position has grown in importance. In addition to presiding over the House in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker chaired committees both inside and outside of Parliament.

The proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh, in the pipeline for 20 years, has become the subject of yet another controversy.

About:

* The state Forest and Environment Department asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) to make a presentation for decreasing the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km.

* Lemru is one of two elephant reserves planned to prevent human-animal conflict in the region, with elephants moving into Chhattisgarh from Odisha and Jharkhand.

* The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) described the reserve as part of an elephant corridor that connects Lemru (Korba), Badalkhol (Jashpur), Tamorpingla (Surguja).

* Why does the government want to reduce the size of the reserve? The area proposed under the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal deposits.

India has decided to allow ethanol-based 'flex engines', which power vehicles using local farm produce and not fossil fuels, and will be rolling out a scheme on the same in the next three months, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

About:

* Gadkari said other countries of the world like Brazil, the US and Canada have flex engines which are powered by farm produce and exhorted automakers like BMW, Mercedes and Toyota to develop vehicles running on the alternative fuel.

* A switch to locally-produced ethanol will be helpful for a country like India which relies majorly on crude oil imports for powering the transport sector. It will also be less polluting and cost-saving.

Do you know?

* Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) have an internal combustion engine and are capable of operating on gasoline and any blend of gasoline and ethanol up to 83%.

* FFVs have one fuel system, and most components are the same as those found in a conventional gasoline-only car.

* Some special ethanol-compatible components are required to compensate for the different chemical properties and energy content in ethanol, such as modifications to the fuel pump and fuel injection system.

* The engine control module (ECM) is also calibrated to accommodate the higher oxygen content of ethanol