A high strength titanium alloy has been developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This alloy has been developed for applications in aerospace structural forgings.
About the Titanium alloy
The titanium alloys are unique due to their ductility, higher strength, fracture toughness and fatigue which make them beneficial for various aircraft structural applications.
Also this alloy has relatively lower lifetime cost due to its superior corrosion resistance in comparison to steels, which makes it very beneficial for aircraft structural applications.
DRDO has said that this alloy can be used in various ways that include slat and flap tracks, landing gears and drop link in landing gear etc.
Over 15 steel components that can be replaced in the near future with this alloy have been identified by The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
Composition of the alloy
This high strength alloy, Ti-10V-2Fe-3Al, contains Iron, Vanadium, and Aluminium. Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) has developed this high strength Titanium alloy. The first component that was forged successfully by the ADA at HAL, with the DMRL’s involvement and duly certified for airworthiness was the landing gear drop link. This alloy’s excellent high strength-to-weight ratio forgeability has facilitated the manufacturing of the intricate components which are necessary in aerospace applications.
On 20th July, 2021, Russia announced that it had successfully test-fired S-500 its new air defence missile systems at a southern training range of the country and had successfully hit a high-speed ballistic target.
S-500 air defence missile systems
Russia announced that the S-500 is the most advanced anti-missile system in the world and is expected to have a range of 600km. This missile system is also capable of countering attacks from the space. This missile system was test fired in the Kapustin Yar training ground and live fire exercises were conducted. The missiles successfully hit a high-speed ballistic target. After tests are successfully completed the first S-500 systems which are also named the Triumfator-M and Prometheus will be placed at an air defence unit outside the city of Moscow.
Development of the S-500 air defence missile system
The development of this missile system is years behind schedule. The military had earlier announced that the army would begin receiving the first S-500 systems in the year 2020. Almaz-Anty, the maker of the systems announced in April that it was nearing completion.
Other tests carried out by Russia
Russia announced that it another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile had been carried out. Zircon is a part of a new arsenal of weapons of Russia.
Turkey a NATO member has bought S-400 defence system from Russia despite receiving protests from the United States that doing so will threaten NATO’s defences.
On 20th July, Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister of India, sought the nod of the Indian Parliament so as to spend an additional Rs 23,675 crore in the current financial year including Rs 17,000 crore for the Health Ministry.
To meet the various issues related to Covid and for other health preparedness, Rs 16,463 crore extra spending has been issued for the health and family welfare department.
526 crore has been provided to the health research department so that they can prepare for emergency epidemic preparedness and response.
Rs 2,050 crore has been approved for the Ministry of Civil Aviation which also includes Rs. 1,872 crore towards advances and loans to Air India.
Rs 1,100 crore has also been announced for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution for providing assistance to the sugar mills.
Approval for spending an additional Rs 1,222 crore under Department of Pharmaceuticals has been sought towards waiver of the government loan of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and waiver of government loan and accrued interest of Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Additional grants have been approved to clear the dues of Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd.
The additional spending is well over the total expenditure of ₹34.83 lakh crore which was projected in the Budget for the year 2021-22.
About Ministry of Finance
Formed in the year 1946, the current finance minister of India is Nirmala Sitharaman and Bhagwat Karad and Pankaj Choudhary are the Minister of States of this department.
IOC, India’s largest oil firm will build the country’s first ‘green hydrogen’ plant at its refinery in Mathura. This decision has been undertaken with the view of preparing for a future to cater to the growing demands cleaner forms of energy.
This project will be the India’s first ever green hydrogen unit.
Earlier, ‘grey hydrogen’ production projects have been announced making use of fossil fuels such as natural gas.
Several hydrogen production units are being planned to be set up by IOC.
With Hydrogen fuel cell powered buses are plying on the road it will be essential to set up hydrogen power plants.
Types of Hydrogen Plants
Hydrogen is the latest buzz as it is a clean fuel but manufacturing it causes carbon by-products and it is energy-intensive.
Through the process of coal gasification brown hydrogen is created while this process throws off carbon waste.
Blue hydrogen uses carbon capture.
The ultimate clean hydrogen resource is green hydrogen production and it uses renewable energy to create the hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen is also said to be a fuel for the future.
Importance of clean energy in India
Forecasts state that Indian fuel demand will climb to 400-450 million tonnes by 2040 as against 250 million tonnes and hence, it will be important to invest in CNG, LNG, ethanol and biodiesel.
Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is a government owned gas and Oil Corporation that was founded in the year 1959. It’s headquarter is located in Delhi and the current chairman is Shrikant Madhav Vaidya.
Under Project 75-India, the Government has issued a tender of Rs 50,000 crores to build six conventional diesel-electric submarines. These submarines will be bigger than the Scorpène-class submarines which are being built at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited, Mumbai
The tender of Rs 50,000 crores has been issued by the Defence Ministry for building six conventional submarines under Project-75 India. The tender has been issued to Larsen and Toubro and Mazagon Dockyards Limited.
The two Indian companies would now select one partner each from the five global original equipment manufacturers including firms from the countries of Germany, France, South Korea, Russia and Spain.
The submarines would be equipped with heavy-duty firepower and will have Anti-Ship cruise missiles (ASCM) along with minimum 12 Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM).
The project is being carried out with the aim of promoting India as a defence equipment manufacturing hub.
The other aim of the project is to establish an R&D and industrial eco-system in the country which will be capable of meeting all the future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
About Project 75-India
Project 75-India is one of the largest Make in India project which is being undertaken by the government. It is being undertaken to protect the Indo-Pacific region and to Ensure Self Reliance.
The Asian Development Bank has downgraded India’s economic growth forecast for the current financial year to 10 % from 11% that it had previously projected in the month of April. This downgrade was done taking into account the adverse impact of the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the last quarter of fiscal year which ended in March 2021, India’s GDP growth recovered to 1.6%.
A second wave of the pandemic induced many state governments to impose strict containment measures hence, the growth projection for FY2021-2, was downgraded to 10% from the previously predicted 11%.
The projection for FY2022-23 is upgraded to 7.5% from 7% as most of the population will be vaccinated by that time and economic activity will normalise.
Economic projection for China and South Asia
Expansion in China is still projected at 8.1% in 2021, and 5.5% in 2022.
Regarding South Asia, ADB said that the economic outlook for this sub region is being hit by the new waves of COVID-19 from the months of March to June 2021.
The GDP growth forecast for the South Asian region has been downgraded from 9.5% to 8.9 % for the year 2021-22.
For the year 2022, forecast has been upgraded from 6.6% to 7%.
Projection for Developing Asia
In developing Asia, recovery is underway but the growth projection for this year has been revised down to 7.2% from 7.3% predicted in the Asian Development Outlook 2021 in the month of April. This downgrade was done due to the recent virus outbreaks in some economies of this region. The projection for developing Asia for the year 2022 has been upgraded to 5.4% from 5.3%.
The government on 19th July, 2021 had introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha that seeks to repeal the decades old Lighthouse Act of 1927 to make way for shifting to modern aids from lighthouses for marine navigation.
Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports Shipping and Waterways, introduced the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, which he had termed to be very important for developing the entire navigation system of India.
This bill was passed in the Lok Sabha way back in March
This bill is aimed at maintenance, development and management of marine aids to navigation around the country.
Salient Features of the Bill
The salient features of the Bill include development of vessel traffic services for enhancing the efficiency and safety of shipping, marking of wrecks in general waters to indicate sunken or stranded vessels for safe navigation and to protect the environment. Also, this bill seeks for the development of heritage lighthouses across the nation.
Pedro Castillo has been announced as Peru’s new president-elect, six weeks after a polarising vote in which, Keliko Fujimori, Castillo’s right wing rival, had alleged electoral fraud.
The official count was released on Monday which Castillo has defeated Fujimori.
Castillo’s supporters include Peru’s poor and rural citizens
Fujimori after her defeat now faces trial on corruption charges.
Castillo had campaigned for the president’s post by promising to improve the lives of Peruvians who are hit with recession which is being worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peru’s per capita death rate from COVID-19 is the highest in the world and Castillo has promised to improve this harrowing situation.
Castillo has also pledged to redraft the constitution of the country and also wants to increase taxes on the various mining firms.
About Pedro Castillo
The son of peasant farmers Castillo is the first person from outside the elite to become president despite the economic gains of the past 20 years. Castillo used to work as a primary school teacher in native village in the northern region of Peru and was best known for leading a national strike four years ago before running for the presidency.
After, The United States, European Union and 14 other electoral missions determined that the voting in the country was done in a fair manner; Fujimori said that she would accept Castillo’s victory, after previously having accused him of electoral fraud without having any evidence.
From 12 to 14 July, 2021 the BRICS meeting on Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) was held.
During the three day CGETI meeting, the BRICS members deliberated on the proposals which were circulated by India. These proposals were mainly for increasing and strengthening the intra-BRICS trade and cooperation was said by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Proposals made by India
The proposals put forward by India are
Cooperation of BRICS regarding Multilateral Trading System.
A framework to ensure Consumer Protection in E-Commerce.
For SPS/TBT measures, Non-Tariff Measures resolution mechanism.
Working Mechanism on Phytosanitary and Sanitary.
A Framework of BRICS regarding Cooperation in the Professional Services.
Outcome of the meeting
All the BRICS Members have agreed upon India’s proposals and seeks to finalise them before the BRICS Trade Ministers’ meeting, on 3rd September, 2021 and will be chaired by Piyush Goyal, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister.
The members also agreed to three more of India’s proposals which were put forward to strengthen economy and trade.
From 16th to 18th August, 2021 have virtual sellers and buyers meet and a BRICS trade fair.
On 22nd July, 2021 a MSME round-table will be held.
Two workshops on Services Trade Statistics to be held on 16th July, and 13th August, 2021.
On 19th July, 2021, the parliament of India was informed that over 1.32 lakh declarations generating Rs 99,765 crore of disputed tax have been filed under the ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ scheme.
The declarations received under the ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ scheme cover around 28.73% of the total pending direct tax disputes in the country.
As on the date of eligibility, the total number of pending tax disputes was 5,10,491.
31st March, 2021 was the last date for making declaration under this scheme. However, the last date for making payments has been extended till 31st
Under the Vivad se Vishwas scheme the government has amicably resolved a significant number of direct tax disputes with the taxpayers.
The taxpayers also have an option of making payments till October 31, but an additional amount of interest will be levied.
About Vivad se Vishwas scheme
On 17th March, 2020, the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020 was enacted with the primary aim to settle all the various direct tax disputes which are currently locked up in numerous appellate forums across the country. This scheme provides for the settlement of disputed interest, disputed tax, disputed fees or disputed penalty on payment of 25% of the disputed penalty, fee or interest and 100% of the disputed tax or interest or fee.
As of 25th June, 2021, India has surpassed Japan, China, Russia and Switzerland to become the world’s fifth-largest foreign exchange reserve holder with $608.99 billion. This was mentioned in the Lok Sabha on 20th July, 2021 by Pankaj Choudhary, MoS Finance.
The Reserve Bank of India and the Government of India are actively monitoring the country’s external position and accordingly fine-tuning the various policies and regulations so as to ensure strong macroeconomic growth of India.
India’s balance of payments has surplused in both the capital and current accounts in the year 2020-21 which largely contributed to the gains in the foreign exchange reserves of the country.
India’s present foreign exchange reserves are sufficient enough to provide a buffer against unforeseen external shocks and also to cover imports for more than 18 months.
The RBI regularly undertakes various measures to diversify the currency reserves of the country by increasing operations in the Forex swap and repo markets, exploring new markets or products and purchasing of gold. All this is done while adhering to liquidity and safety criteria.
The RBI’s intervention in the foreign exchange market to smooth out valuation changes due to movement of the US dollar against other international currencies in the reserve basket, exchange rate volatility, movement in gold prices, inflow of aid receipts and interest earnings from the deployment of foreign currency assets are the main causes for the variation in the country’s Forex reserves.
A rising foreign exchange reserves which is accompanied by current account deficit shows a balance of payments surplus.
The Forex reserves are assets which are held by the central bank of a country and it mainly comprise of bonds, foreign currencies, gold, bank deposits, financial assets and special drawing rights.
On July 19, 2021, Labour minister Bhupender Yadav has said that Urban India witnessed an unemployment rate of 20.8% in the quarter of April-June 2020. This period witnessed stringent nationwide lockdown to arrest the spread of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Urban joblessness in the country had hit a high of 20.8% in the April-June 2020 quarter, especially since the country was under two months of hardcore lockdown.
According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Quarterly bulletin April-June 2020, quarterly unemployment rate for the quarters ending July-Sep 2019, Oct-Dec 2019, Jan-March 2020 and April-June 2020 were 8.3%, 7.8%, 9.1% and 20.8% respectively.
The ministry has also mentioned that the complete employment or unemployment situation of the country can only be assessed only from the survey data for the full year covering both the urban and rural areas.
The annual PLFS data is available up to the year 2018-19. As per that result, the unemployment rate in the country during 2017-18 and 2018-19 was 6.0% and 5.8%, respectively.
The ministry has also said that the government has undertaken numerous initiatives to boost jobs in India through the implementation of schemes like the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana.
Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana
This scheme is being implemented by the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). For the companies having up to 1000 employees the government will pay both the employees’ contribution (12%) and the employers’ contribution (12%) i.e. 24% of the wages towards Employee Provident Fund. For the companies having more than 1000 employees, the government will pay only the employees’ share of EPF contribution which is 12% towards Employee Provident Fund. This will be done for a period of 2 years.
The Oxfam report which is named ‘Inequality Report 2021: India’s Unequal Healthcare Story’ was released on Tuesday. This report talks about how India’s focus on supporting private healthcare while low spending on public healthcare systems has led to inequalities in accessing healthcare, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
The States which are attempting to reduce the existing healthcare inequalities with higher expenditure on health had lower confirmed cases of Covid-19 compared to the other states.
The report states that the states such as Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, that for the past few years have been reducing inequalities, especially healthcare inequalities between the general category and SC and ST populations, have less COVID-19 confirmed cases. On the other hand states, such as Assam, Bihar and Goa that have had higher GDP expenditure on health have higher Covid recovery rates.
The Oxfam report has marked the state of Kerala as a success story in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report stated that the people in the higher income brackets and those with access to health infrastructure had less visits to hospitals and Covid centres than those who belongs to the lower income groups (LIG). People in the LIG faced more discrimination regarding the access of COVID-19 related medicines and healthcare.
This report also points out the country’s digital divide which has been ignored while administering the vaccine which is causing a vaccine inequality between the income groups as well as general and SC, ST categories.
There have also been inequalities on the basis of gender. Men are better off than women.
Also the urban population fared better than the rural population which has been measured on various health indicators.
Between 2004 and 2017 the per hospitalisation case medical expenditure has tripled making it very difficult for the poorer and rural households. The urban households depended on their savings while the rural households depended mostly on loans and borrowings.
Less than one third of the country’s household is covered by an insurance scheme of the Government.
The out-of-pocket health expenditure of 64.2% in India is higher than the world average which stands at 18.2%. Exorbitant healthcare prices have forced many to incur debts and to their assets.
Literacy rates among the different social categories also affect their healthcare access.
Though there has been improvement in child immunisation still the rate of immunisation of girls continues to be below that of the male child.
Children residing in urban areas have better access to immunization than those in rural areas. There is also disparity in child immunization between the income groups in the country.
Oxfam was founded in the year in the year 1942 and it’s headquarter is located in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a confederate of several charitable organizations that works on global poverty.
On July 19, 2021, to turn the spotlight on the logistics sector, the Government of India announced the launch of a new category of awards named the National Logistics Excellence Awards. This newly launched awards will provide with due recognition to the various players involved in the logistics supply chain in the country.
The awards are divided in two categories. The first category includes service providers and logistics infrastructure and second category will be awarded for the various user industries.
The launch of the National Logistics Excellence Awards will highlight best practices which include process standardisation, consolidation, digital transformations, technological upgrade and sustainable practices in the logistics sector.
Through these awards, the government aims to turn the spotlight on logistics service providers who have attained adopted digitisation and technology, operational excellence, pursued sustainable practices and improved customer service among the many other achievements.
For the user industries, these awards will showcase efforts towards supplier ecosystem development, supply chain transformation, automation, skill development and other similar endeavours.
The government has said that the winners of these awards will be announced on 31st
The commerce ministry has recently announced that an initiative has been launched to acclimatize farmers who are involved in the cultivation of Basmati rice by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority’s (APEDA) arm the Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF). Under this initiative, BEDF and the Rice Exporters Association of Uttar Pradesh has collaborated to launch an awareness campaign through which farmers will be encouraged to grow high-quality Basmati rice at Jahangirpur which is located in the Gautam Buddha Nagar district of the state of Uttar Pradesh.