Daily Current Affairs - 19-07-2021

India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has granted authorisations to seven companies for selling of auto fuels in the country.

Key Points

Procedure for granting of authorisation

Companies having a minimum net worth of Rs 250 crore at the time of making application were granted authorisation by the petroleum ministry.

The minimum net worth requirement was Rs 500 crore in case if authorization is required for retail and bulk sales.

2019 rules for retail authorisation

The 2019 rules state that for receiving retail authorisation, an entity has to set up minimum of 100 retail outlets. Out of these outlets, 5% should be set up in the notified remote areas of the country that too within 5 years of receiving the authorisation.

Compared to 2019, there was a 22.6% increase in lightning in India last year. This is according to Earth Networks ‘2020 India Lightning Report’.

Highlights of the report

Earth Networks which published the report operates the largest global hyper local weather network.

The government of Tripura has taken initiatives to promote commercial cultivation of Agar trees and has set a target of achieving Rs 2,000 crore business from this sector in the coming three years.

Key Points

About Agar Trees

Agar (Aquilaria malaccensis) is an evergreen tree that grows in abundance in the state of Tripura. The state’s forest department has said that this species has a huge potential of creating an economic revolution in the state after bamboo, rubber and other major forestry crops. Due to low input cost for its growth and management and its intercropping adaptation could make agar a cash crop.

The government of Tripura is contemplating in bringing a detailed policy for the promotion of Agar tree plantation, development and sustainable harvesting of the Agarwood-based Industry.

A conditional licensing framework for proprietary food products has been proposed by The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Key Points

Conditional Licensing

The concept of the Conditional Licensing of FSSAI is to check the market penetration of such products where to avoid compliance with standardized food products the composition of the product is diluted.

All food products available in the market need to comply with the food standards including standards for labelling, packaging, toxic substances and contaminants. Food safety regulations also include standards that mainly focus on the composition and identification standards of certain food products and also cover microbiological and additive requirements among others.

Therefore, the FSSAI is proposing the mapping of proprietary food products with closely resembled standardized food product category.

About FSSAI

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was formed in the year 2011 and it is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. FSSAI is responsible for promoting and protecting public health through its supervision and regulation activities. The current Chairperson of FSSAI is Rita Teaotia and the current Chief Executive Officer is Arun Singhal. FSSAI is headquartered at New Delhi.

On 18th July, 2021, the new Prime Minister of Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba won a vote of confidence in the country’s Parliament days after the Supreme Court had reinstated the legislature which was dissolved in May.

Key Points

Promises of the new Prime Minister

Decision of the Supreme Court

On 12th July, the Supreme Court ordered Deuba to be appointed replacing KP Sharma Oli. The court ruled against Oli by stating that by dissolving the parliament he had breached the constitution of the. Former PM Oli, says that he had been unfairly removed by the court. Oli had also said that he will be speaking with the citizens of Nepal regarding his position and unfair removal by the court.

A standard operating procedure (SoP) will be shortly developed by the forest department of Tamil Nadu for the capture and release of wild elephants which will be based on science and best practices

Releasing of adult male Elephant Rivaldo

Elephant Species in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s Asian elephant species has shown signs of population decline at an alarming reason and this was reason enough why Rivaldo was sent back to the breeding population in the wild.

Detailing these points and a few others, the TN Chief Wildlife Warden, Shekhar Kumar Niraj has emphasized on the need for a SoP for the capture and release of wild elephants in the state.

United States of America, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan, have made a principle agreement to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform with the primary aim to enhance regional connectivity. This QUAD group was announced by the administration of Biden.

Key Points

QUAD group meetings

The four nations have agreed to meet in the coming few months to chalk out the various modalities of this QUAD cooperation with mutual consensus.

A Texas based Federal judge has created a storm in the USA by ruling that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which was created by former president Barack Obama in the year 2012 is illegal as the congress never formerly accepted it.

About DACA

Verdict on DACA

Texas Judge Hansen has not ruled for those currently on DACA lists to lose their status but he has been able to prevent new applications from being processed. Hansen said that the reason for doing is a legal one as it is an unlawful implementation of the policy because it didn’t properly go through the Congress.

Current Situation on DACA

Those who are already in the DACA program can remain in it, but those who were waiting for DACA status will not be able to access it.

On 18th July, 2021, Lewis Hamilton of United Kingdom has won the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone for a record eighth time. This was the 99th win of Hamilton’s career who has also won the world championship seven times.

Result of the race

  1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

Key Points

About British Grand Prix

The British Grand Prix is a motor race which is organised in the United Kingdom. This race is organised by the Royal Automobile Club. It was first held in the year 1926; since the year 1948 the British Grand Prix has been held annually and every year since 1950 it has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Pegasus spyware has been used to conduct surveillance on ministers, opposition leaders, journalists, government officials and scientists of India.

Key Points

About Pegasus

The NSO group, an Israeli company, sells the spyware named Pegasus to governments across the world. This spyware can be used to snoop on phones that run on iOS and android systems. Seventeen international media groups that include The Washington Post and The Guardian have led the investigation into how Pegasus was used to allegedly extract information and messages from the phones of politicians, journalists, activists etc.

NBDriver (neighbourhood driver) is an AI tool which can be used in analyzing the cancer-causing mutations in cells. This AI tool has been developed by researchers working at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M)

About NBDriver

About IIT-M

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT- M) is situated in Chennai. It was founded in the year 1959 with financial and technical assistance from the former government of West Germany. IIT-M was the third IIT to be established by the Government of India.

French director, Julia Ducournau of ‘Titane’, a horror drama becomes the first female director in the last 28 years to win the Palme d’or at Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes Film Festival 2021

Jury of the award

A jury chaired by Spike Lee decided upon the winner of the 74th Cannes Film Festival awards. Also, for the first time in history, in the Cannes Film Festival’s main international competition jury women outnumbered men five to four.

First woman to win the Palme d’or

Jane Campion of New Zealand was the first woman to win the Palme d’or for “The Piano” in the year 1993.

About Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Festival, which was called the International Film Festival (Festival international du film) till the year 2003 and in English known as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival which is held in Cannes, France.  Inthis festival new films of all genres, including documentaries, from all around the world are previewed. This festival was founded in the year 1946 and in 1951 was formally accredited by the FIAPF. It is one of the “Big Three” major European film festivals, alongside the Berlin International Film Festival, Germany and the Venice Film Festival in Italy. It is also one of the “Big Five” major international film festivals which consists of the three major European film festivals as well as the Sundance Film Festival in the United States and the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada.

Two Indian communities have bagged this year’s UNDP Equator Prize. They have won this prestigious prize for their exceptional achievement in exhibiting innovative, local and various nature-based solutions for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss and also achieving their local development goals.

Winners from India

Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited

Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited is a cooperative having 1700 member. It is run and managed entirely by the indigenous people from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu. The work done by this community, in the past eight years, has improved the livelihood across 147 villages by marketing and processing a diverse range of crops and forest produce. Harvesting and agricultural practices are regularly monitored so as to ensure the product quality and also to prevent resource overuse.

Snehakunja Trust

For 45 years, the Snehakunja Trust has protected the coastal ecosystems and sensitive wetlands in the Karnataka coast and the Western Ghats with a focus on community-based conservation and restoration. This organization has supported and helped hundreds of village forest committees and self-help groups to manage resources sustainably based on implementation of various natural farming techniques, traditional knowledge, usage of clean energy, promoting entrepreneurship, and also by providing community health services. Currently, this trust is piloting India’s first blue carbon project.

Selection of Winners

The winners of this prize were selected from a pool of over 600 nominations from 126 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee consisting of experts who are internationally renowned.

On July 18, 2021, successful trial of movement of train was undertaken between Jaynagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal.

Key Points

Announcement by East Central Railway

About IRCON

Ircon International or Indian Railway Construction Limited (IRCON) is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways and a construction & engineering corporation which specializes in infrastructure used for transport. The subsidiary was established in the year 1976 with the primary aim of construction of various railway projects in India as well as abroad. At present, Ircon has successfully completed over 1650 major infrastructure projects in India and over 900 major projects around the world in 31 countries. M. K Singh is the current chairman of Ircon.