Ladakh has become first Union Territory to vaccinate all residents and guest population; comprising of migrant labourers, hotel workers and Nepalese citizens earning their livelihood in the territory; with first dose of Covid-19 jab.
Ladakh is a region administered by India as union territory. It comprises of part of larger Kashmir region, which has been a subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China. Ladakh was established as a Union Territory on October 31, 2019 after passing “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act”.
Ladakh is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region in east, Himachal Pradesh in south, Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in west while southwest corner of Xinjiang along the Karakoram Pass in north.
Ladakh extends from Siachen Glacier in Karakoram range in north to main Great Himalayas in south. Eastern end of UT comprises of uninhabited Aksai Chin plains. Aksai Chin is claimed by Indian Government as part of Ladakh, however it is under Chinese control since 1962.
The National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARC) has finally become a legal entity registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) Mumbai.
Indian Banks Association (IBA) had filed an application in June 2021 with Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to incorporate NARCL and India Debt Management Company (IDMCL) to manage bad loans.
Total stress in banking system is more than Rs 15 lakh crore. So, banks burdened with stressed assets and limited capital find it difficult to manage NPAs. Further, Government can only provide a limited capital. Thus, this bad bank model will help both government and banks to manage NPAs.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved “Blue Origin license” in order to carry humans on New Shepard launch system into space.
Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, spaceX firm are working to usher in new era of routine commercial civilian space travel. Space travel has been popularized as “billionaire space race.” Proving rocket travel is safe for public is a significant key of developing a space tourism market which is going to be $3 billion market, as per an estimate of Swiss-based investment bank UBS.
Space Tourism is human space travel for recreational purposes. There are different types of space tourism such as orbital, suborbital and lunar space tourism. Till date, orbital space tourism has been performed only by Roscosmos. Different agencies like Blue Origin & Virgin Galactic are working to develop suborbital space tourism vehicles. SpaceX also announced in 2018 about their plan of sending space tourists, including Yusaku Maezawa, on a free-return trajectory around Moon on Starship.
It is an American aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company. It is privately funded and is headquartered in Kent, Washington. It was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos who is also the founder & executive chairman of Amazon.
India’s second annual Lightning Report was recently published. According to it, lightning in India has become the biggest cause of death by forces of nature.
On July 11, 2021 lightning strikes killed about 70 people in different parts India, including Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Overall, there has been a 34% increase in Lightning strikes in the country. It has increased from 1.38 crore strikes in 2019-2020 to 1.85 crore strikes in 2020-2021. Punjab reported a 331% rise in thunderbolt strikes. Bihar witnessed 168% increase in lightning strikes. It is followed by Haryana (164%), Puducherry (117%), Himachal Pradesh (105%), and West Bengal (100%).
Lightning is a huge spark of electricity in atmosphere between clouds, air, or ground. There are three kinds of lightning viz., Inter-cloud, Intra-cloud, and Cloud-to-ground. Report finds, humans are killed because of cloud-to-ground lightning. As per it, greatest number of deaths were because people were standing under isolated tall trees while 25% of people were struck in open.
United Kingdom exported apple to India for the first time in 50 years.
In May 2021, UK government started 14 weeks of talks, seeking public and corporate views before formally negotiating on UK-India FTA. According to UK, it wants to trade with India’s £ 2 trillion economy and the market of 1.4 billion consumers by removing barriers of doing business. Some of the measures include- elimination of tariffs of up to 150 percent on whiskey and 125 percent on British cars.
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India was done with the objective of facilitating UK service companies to do business in Indian market and enhance UK’s position as an international service hub.
As per latest statistics, trade between UK and India in 2019 was around £ 23 billion. Both the countries seek to double the trade value under roadmap 2030 timeline. India’s goods exports to UK reduced by 6.4% in Financial Year 2021 at $8.2 billion. Imports were also contracted by 26.17% to $4.95 billion. India is second largest investor in UK while UK has been second fastest growing G20 investor in India.
Two major COVID-19 vaccine makers of China have signed agreements to provide 550 million doses to COVAX facility.
Sinopharm vaccine is also called as BBIBP-CorV or BIBP vaccine. This vaccine has been developed using inactivated virus by Sinopharm Beijing Institute of Biological Products. Its phase three trials were completed in Argentina, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Peru, Pakistan, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) with over 60,000 participants. This vaccine shares similar technology with CoronaVac and Covaxin.
Sinovac, also known as CoronaVac, is an inactivated virus COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech. Its Phase III clinical trial was conducted in Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Philippines, and Turkey. It uses the traditional technology similar to BBIBP-CorV and Covaxin. This vaccine does not need to be frozen.
COVAX is a worldwide initiative launched with the aim of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It is directed by Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and World Health Organization (WHO). COVAX is one among the three pillars of Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator. As of July 2020, 165 countries have joined COVAX, representing 60% of human population. As of July 6, 2021; 100 million doses of covid-19 vaccine have been delivered.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has drafted a cyber-security industry plan.
This law, commonly referred to as Chinese Cybersecurity Law, was enacted to increase data localization, data protection, and cybersecurity for national security. It was enacted by Standing Committee of National People’s Congress on November 7, 2016. Law came into force on June 1, 2017.
The law requires network operators to store data within China. It also allows Chinese authorities to conduct spot-checks on network operations of company. Law offers principal norms on some of the issues that are not immediately urgent but having long-term importance. It also provides elaborate regulations and definitions on legal liability. For illegal conduct, Law provides for punishments like fines, suspension for rectification, revocation of permits & business licenses.
This censorship by law affects whole China except its special administrative regions like Hong Kong and Macau because these regions have a high degree of autonomy. It is specified in local laws as “One country, two systems” principle.
Cybersecurity is recognized as a basic law in China. Thus, puts cybersecurity law on top of pyramid-structured legislation on cybersecurity.
Square’s hardware head, Jesse Dorogusker, announced recently that company is going to start building a hardware wallet and accompanying service for cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. This decision was taken in a bid to bring crypto coin into mainstream.
Hardware wallet is a special type of cryptocurrency storage which maintains and secures private crypto keys of users in hardware device. This wallet is known for providing security and utility when users interact with blockchains. It allows users to work on multiple blockchains simultaneously. This is translated as utility factor because users can manage Bitcoin, Ethereum & Alt. Coins, Lumens etc on a single device.
On the hardware wallet, everything is backed up and accessible with a recovery phrase or with password or key. The hardware is in form of a small, portable, plug-in device which allows users to access cryptocurrency from anywhere.
Cryptocurrency is not stored in the hardware of wallet itself. But it is stored in blockchains. Wallet allows users to access in a portable fashion. It is more like a credit card which can access account from any ATM or swiping platform.
Hardware wallet are extremely secure across the cyberspace because it is a hardware device. Wallet isolates key or access from rest of Internet. Thus, it is safe from online attacks.
Users are just required to plug in device to a system and unlock it with their PIN code. With this, users can proceed with transaction on system. After doing the transaction, it is confirmed on the device’s screen. Blockchain cannot be accessed without unique digital signature stored on the device.
According to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health, a 3.7 degrees Celsius rise in temperatures from pre-industrial level by 2100 might lead to fatal outbreaks of malaria and dengue.
Study suggests that, policy makers should come up with appropriate strategies to build resilience against major mosquito-borne diseases in warmer and more urbanised world.
Kutchi New Year is observed every year on second day of shukla paksha or waxing phase of moon in Ashada month. In 2021, it was observed on July 12.
Ashadhi Ekadashi is an important religious festival, celebrated in State of Maharashtra. It is generally held at Pandharpur where devotees gather to celebrate this festival. This religious procession festival is held every year during Ashadha Shukla paksha. Usually, Ekadashi is considered as coming on each month of a year but eleventh day of Ashadh is considered as great Ekadashi. This is also called by name “Shayani Ekadashi”. On this day, day long fast is practiced and devotee go walking in huge processions to Pandharpur. The procession starts in Allandi and ends on Guru Poornima at Pandharpur.
Italy has won second European Championship trophy after defeating England by 3-2 in penalty shoot-out in final of Euros 2020 trophy at Wembley Stadium in London.
It is the primary association football competition among senior men’s national teams of members of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It determines the continental champion of Europe. Competition has been held every four years since 1960. Euros 2020 was postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. It was originally called as “European Nations’ Cup”. Its named changed to current form in 1968. Individual events are branded in form of “UEFA Euro [year]”. In the tournament, host nations qualify automatically while other members are required to compete in qualifying process.
UEFA is the administrative body for football, beach soccer and futsal in Europe. It is among six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. It comprises of 55 national association members. Apart from representing national football associations of Europe, it runs nation & club competitions such as UEFA European Championship, UEFA Nations League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Super Cup. It also controls the prize money, regulations and media rights for these competitions.
Supreme Court of Nepal has passed an order to appoint Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister Nepal within two days.
Five-member constitutional bench of supreme court’ order also reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives for second time in five months.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari had dissolved 275-member lower house on May 22, 2021 for second time in five months on the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli. She also announced snap elections on November 12 and November 19. Election Commission had also announced recently the schedule for mid-term elections despite uncertainty over polls.
President has the power to dissolve House of Representatives or Parliament under Article 76 (7) of Constitution of Nepal.
Under Article 76 (7), Prime Minister can dissolve house of representatives and announce new date to conduct election within six months in case Prime Minister appointed under Clause (5) fails to own vote of confidence or when no member can be appointed as Prime Minister.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari dissolved parliament after considering claims of support by both sides. KP Sharma Oli had claimed to have support of 153 lawmakers including members of Janata Samajbadi Party. While, Nepali Congress President Deuba had the support of 149 parliamentarians. Both the claims did not comply because, Nepal’s house of representatives is comprising of 275 members.
Political crisis in Nepal begun in May 2018 when KP Sharma Oli-led CPN-UML & National Communist Party joined hands and decided to serve as joint chairmen of ruling party. CPN-UML was largest party in House of Representatives however, increasing disputes within the ruling party resulted in split again. After the split, in December 2020, Prachanda-led party expelled Prime Minister Oli as co-Chair and Prachanda was made first Chairman. In 2020, the house of representatives was dissolved which was reinstated again after the order of supreme court in 2021. On May 10, 2021 Prime Minister Oli has lost vote of confidence and house was dissolved again.
One of the biggest festivals of India, Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra for Lord Jagannath was commenced on July 12, 2021
Images of all the three deities is ceremoniously brought out of inner sanctum (Garbhagriha) from the chief temple in Jagannath Puri. They are placed in a chariot which is then pulled by volunteers from Jagannath puri temple to Gundicha Temple.
This important Hindu temple is dedicated to Jagannath who is a form of Lord Vishnu. Temple is located in Puri, Odisha. The present temple was rebuilt from 10th century onwards. Earlier temple was built by Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva in 12th century CE, who was the first king of Eastern Ganga dynasty, at the same site. The temple is one of the Char Dham.
The three images of Jagannath are made up of neem wood, unlike stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples. These images are ceremoniously replaced every twelve or 19 years with an exact replica.
World Population Day was observed on July 11, 2021. The year 2021 marked the 32nd world pupation day.
World’s population has been increasing rapidly over the last few decades. Continuous population growth will give rise to many other problems. Thus, to raise people’s awareness on issues related with population like importance of family planning, poverty, gender equality, maternal health and human rights, the day becomes significant.
First World Population Day was observed on July 11, 1989. This day was established by Governing Council of United Nations Development Programme in 1989. This day was suggested by Dr. K. C. Zachariah when population reaches Five Billion. Dr Zachariah was working as Senior Demographer at World Bank then. Approximate date on which population of the world reached five billion was July 11, 1987.
The day is observed every year with a specific theme. Theme for World Population Day 2021 is “Rights and choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritizing the reproductive health and rights of all people.”
UNDP is the global development network of United Nations. It promotes technical and investment cooperation within nations. It also connects countries with knowledge, experience and resources in order to help people build a better life for themselves.
At least 30 people were killed in separate incidents of lightning in various parts of the country in the past 24 hours.
How common are deaths by lightning?
* As a whole, India sees 2,000-2,500 lightning deaths every year on average. Lightning is the biggest contributor to accidental deaths due to natural causes.
* And yet, lightning remains among the least studied atmospheric phenomena in the country.
* Just one group of scientists, at the Indian Institute of Tropical Management (IITM) in Pune, works full-time on thunderstorms and lightning.
* Lightning rarely hits people directly — but such strikes are almost always fatal.
* People are most commonly struck by what are called “ground currents”. The electrical energy, after hitting a large object (such as a tree) on Earth, spreads laterally on the ground for some distance, and people in this area receive electrical shocks.
* It becomes more dangerous if the ground is wet (which it frequently is because of the accompanying rain), or if there is metal or other conducting material on it.
Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy said the National Archives’ records related to freedom fighters would be digitised within a year as a part of the commemoration of 75 years of Independence next year.
* The National Archives of India is an Attached Office under the Ministry of Culture.
* It was established in 1891 at Kolkata(Calcutta) as the Imperial Record Department.
* Following the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, the present building of the National Archives of India was constructed in 1926 in Delhi.
* There are over 50 lakhs files/documents presently in the holdings in the National Archives of India.
In recent years, countries around the world have been attempting to pass effective ‘right to repair’ laws.
* US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling on the Federal Trade Commission to curb restrictions imposed by manufacturers that limit consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets on their own terms.
* The UK, too, introduced right-to-repair rules that should make it much easier to buy and repair daily-use gadgets such as TVs and washing machines.
* What is the right to repair movement?
* Activists and organisations around the world have been advocating for the right of consumers to be able to repair their own electronics and other products as part of the ‘right to repair’ movement.
* The movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s.
* The goal of the movement is to get companies to make spare parts, tools and information on how to repair devices available to customers and repair shops to increase the lifespan of products and to keep them from ending up in landfills.
* They argue that these electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’ — which means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced. This, they claim, leads to immense pressure on the environment and wasted natural resources.
* But why do electronic manufacturers oppose this movement?
* Large tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla, have been lobbying against the right to repair.
* Their argument is that opening up their intellectual property to third party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation and impact the safety and security of their devices.
A list of new Union Cabinet ministers issued by the BJP has triggered a debate in political circles in Tamil Nadu, as well as on social media, by referring to ‘Kongu Nadu’, the informal name for a region in the western part of the state.
* The list mentions new minister L Murugan as hailing from ‘Kongu Nadu’.
* This has led to allegations that the BJP of trying to bifurcate the state, with the ruling DMK-Congress alliance saying the “agenda” will not succeed.
* It has also been considered an AIADMK stronghold in the recent past, and is also where the BJP’s limited influence in the state is concentrated.
But where is Kongu Nadu?
* ‘Kongu Nadu’ is neither a place with a PIN code nor a name given formally to any region. It is a commonly used name for part of western Tamil Nadu.
* In Tamil literature, it was referred to as one of the five regions of ancient Tamil Nadu. There were mentions of ‘Kongu Nadu’ in Sangam literature as a separate territory.
* In the present state of Tamil Nadu, the term is informally used to refer to a region that includes the districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem, as well as Oddanchatram and Vedasandur in Dindgul district, and Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district.
* The name derives from Kongu Vellala Gounder, an OBC community with a significant presence in these districts.
* The region includes prominent businesses and industrial hubs at Namakkal, Salem, Tirupur and Coimbatore.
IFSCA has issued a framework for Setting up and operating International Trade Finance Services Platform (‘ITFS’).
* The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has been set up vide IFSCA Act, 2019 to develop and regulate the financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs).
* Towards this end, IFSCA has issued a framework for Setting up and operating International Trade Finance Services Platform (‘ITFS’) for providing Trade Finance Services at International Financial Services Centres (‘IFSCs’).
* The framework will enable Exporters and Importers to avail various types of trade finance facilities at competitive terms, for their international trade transactions through a dedicated electronic platform viz, ITFS.
* This will help in their ability to convert their trade receivables into liquid funds and to obtain short term funding.
An Indian stem cell & developmental biologist is part of the WHO advisory committee on human genome editing.
* Indian stem cell and developmental biologist Prof. Maneesha S Inamdar has been part of the WHO Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing.
* This committee has released two new companion reports providing the first global recommendations to help ensure that human genome editing is used for public health, with an emphasis on safety, effectiveness, and ethics.
* The reports, released on July 12, 2021, contained a forward-looking Governance Framework for oversight mechanisms for research into and potential application of human genome editing technology at institutional, national, regional and international levels.
* Professor Maneesha S Inamdar is conducting research at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru, an autonomous Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that uses gene-editing tools to manipulate stem cells in vitro.
A MoU has been signed for execution of 679 MW Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project in Nepal between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Central Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Power, Government of India & Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) in Kathmandu Nepal.
* The Lower Arun HEP (679 MW) is a downstream development of Arun-3 HEP.
* The Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project is located in Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur Districts of Nepal.
* The project will not have any reservoir or dam and will be a tail race development of 900 MW Arun3 HEP.
* The project will have four francis type turbines.
* On completion the Project will generate 2970 million units of electricity per annum.
* It is scheduled to be completed in four years after commencement of construction activities and has been allocated to SJVN for 25 years on Build Own Operate Transfer basis.
* Arun 3 Hydro Electric Project
* This is the second project awarded to SJVN in Nepal, the first one being the 900 MW Arun 3 Hydro Electric Project in Sankhuwasabha District.
* Arun-3 Project is being implemented through wholly owned subsidiary company of SJVN i.e. SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company Limited (SAPDC) incorporated in Nepal.
The Union Home Minister inaugurated the newly built Center of Excellence for Research & Analysis of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances of the National Forensic Science University in Ahmedabad.
* When the government was formed for the second time under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, it was decided to establish this Center
* 7 States of the country have expressed their desire to open Colleges and Centers of Excellence affiliated to the National Forensic Science University, Gujarat.
* The Cyber Defence Center and Ballistic Research Center set up in this Center are unique in the whole of Asia and the nation is on course to be self-reliant in this field.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addresses a webinar on 40th foundation day of National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD).
* Established in: 1982.
* History: It was established in 1982 on the recommendations of B.Sivaraman Committee to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.
* Objective: Promoting agriculture and rural development through participative financial and non-financial interventions, innovations, technology and institutional development for securing prosperity.
* Functions and activities:
* NABARD provides refinancing facilities to Commercial banks, State co-operative banks, Central Co-operative banks, Regional rural banks and Land Development banks.
* NABARD provides refinance assistance for agriculture, promoting rural development activities. It also provides all necessary finance and assistance to small scale industries.
* Government of India created the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) in NABARD in 1995-96, with an initial corpus of Rs.2,000 crore.
* It supervises State Cooperative Banks (SCBs), District Cooperative Central Banks (DCCBs), and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and conducts statutory inspections of these banks.
* NABARD is also known for its 'SHG Bank Linkage Programme' which encourages India's banks to lend to self-help groups (SHGs).
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Ashadhi Bij, the Kutchi New Year.
* Date: Ashadi Beej or Ashadhi Bij is observed on the second day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in Ashada month.
* Region: It is the Kutchi New Year. This Hindu New Year is observed in the Kutch region in Gujarat.
* Celebrations: Ashadi Beej is mostly a traditional affair and is a celebration of rains. During Ashadhi-beej, farmers check the moisture in the atmosphere to help predict which crop would do best in coming monsoon.