Daily Current Affairs - 31-07-2021

NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) have successfully completed the two month long, an exclusive and digital skills entrepreneurship which is named ATL Tinkerprenuer summer bootcamp and was held across India.

Who were the participants?

Designed for high school students across the country, the program has seen a breakthrough of over 9,000 participants (including over 4,000 women) in 32 states and 298 districts of the country. Bootcamp saw the participation of 820 ATLs, over 50 live expert speaker sessions conducted with over 4.5 lakh views and imparted over 30 digital and business skills.

Why was it named Tinkerprenuer?

The name derives from the phrase “allowing students to tinker in the comfort of their homes and become entrepreneurs this summer” which is a campaign focused on developing an innovative and creative mindset among the participating students.

Duration of the programme

Spanning 9 weeks from May 31, 2021 to August 1, 2021, this programme enabled attendees to develop a business idea and create an end-to-end strategy to establish a new business.

What did the participants learn?

During the training, the participants acquired the necessary digital skills, create and develop a business model around a digital product, make a marketing plan, develop/establish a store online, learn about corporate finance and gain by presenting their introduction to industry experts. Students and their ATL leaders were mapped in small groups with mentors. All registered users have access to a wealth of digital and business learning resources, do-it-yourself content, simple homework assignments and more to enable participants to create their own digital products and projects.

Objective of ATL Tinkerprenuer

The entire training program was designed to impart innovative thinking as well as to help students move from an idea to a business in a short time, failing and trying again and make the experience of both building solutions and businesses around it.

USA has imposed sanctions on the Cuban police force and two of their leaders following recent protests in Cuba against the Communist government of the country.

Highlights

On whom were the sanctions imposed?

US sanctions have been imposed on Cuban police chief Oscar Callejas Valcarce and his deputy, Eddy Sierra Arias, as well as the island’s police force.

Other sanctions

Last week, USA sanctioned the Cuban Secretary of Defense and the Communist Special Forces Brigade for the forceful suppression of the peaceful demonstrations that were held on the island.

India and China hold another round of high-level military talks on Saturday in a bid to advance the process of removing the remaining points causing friction in eastern Ladakh to end a 14 months long standoff.

Highlights

Foreign ministers bilateral meeting

The two foreign ministers held a one-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference in the Tajik capital Dushanbe on July 14. During the meeting, Mr. Jaishankar told him status quo along LAC is not accepted by India and that comprehensive relations can only develop after the full restoration of peace and tranquility in eastern Ladakh. During the latest round of military talks, the two sides discussed ways to proceed with the liberation of Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang with the broader aim of reducing tensions in the region.

On July 29 and 30, the first G20 Culture Ministers Meeting was held in Rome, Italy. This was a major two-day event that took place during the Italian G20 presidency. The Colosseum and Palazzo Barberini hosted the G20 Summit in Rome.

Highlights

Discussion on Key Topics

The key topics which were up for discussion in Rome were:

Conclusion

Italy assumed the rotating presidency of the G20 2021 in December last year and will host the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome in October 30 and 31.

Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade took over as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff from Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar on Saturday, who retired after 39 years of service.

Highlights

Other news

The Navy’s INS Airavat rescued a fishing boat floating near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. According to the Navy, as part of Ops Samudra Setu II, INS Airavat passed through the area on its way back from Jakarta when it received a distress signal from Saleth Matha II near the Carnicobar Islands, Andaman and Nicobar at 2300 on Friday. INS Airavat is towing the ship to the nearest port.

In accordance with the second phase of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) programme, the government approved the establishment of two additional commercial and strategic underground storage facilities at Chandikhol (4 MMT) and Padur (2.5 MMT) with a total capacity storage of 6.5 MMT in PPP model.

Highlights

Importance of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) programme

The 1990 Gulf War caused oil prices to skyrocket and imports from India increased significantly. During the Indian economic crisis after 1991, foreign exchange reserves could hardly finance three weeks of imports, and the government could hardly meet its financial obligations. India responded to the crisis through economic liberalization policies. However, the country continued to be affected by fluctuations in oil prices.

In the year 1998, the government of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee proposed the creation of oil reserves as a solution to manage the oil market. Three storage facilities were built at underground sites in Padur, Visakhapatnam and Mangalore. In the first phase, a total storage capacity of 5.33 million tons was created.

The current government approved two additional commercial and strategic facilities in July 2021, with a total storage capacity of 6.5 MMT. This will increase India’s strategic reserve capacity to 11.83 MMT. In times of crisis, India can manage its oil demand period for a specific time.

The founder of the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune, businessman Cyrus Poonawalla has been named the winner of the prestigious National Lokmanya Tilak Award 2021.

Highlights

About the award

Although the awards ceremony takes place on August 1 each year on the anniversary of the Freedom Fighter’s death, this epidemic-stricken year the award has been scheduled for August 13. The prize includes a cash prize of 1,00,000 rupees and souvenirs for the winners. The award was first presented in the year 1983. Winners include former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee; Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy and former President Pranab Mukherjee.

The BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan has been finalized to strengthen BRICS counter-terrorism cooperation.

Highlights

The Action Plan

The action plan is the result of the BRICS leaders’ adoption of the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy in 2020. Prior to the meeting of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group, five themed sub-working groups were held in July 26 to 27. They are deradicalisation, Internet Exploitation for Terrorist Purposes, Developing Counter-Terrorism Financing Capabilities, Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters and capacity building.

Conclusion

The document will help strengthen cooperation within the BRICS countries in the fight against terrorism, radicalization, terrorist financing and terrorist abuse of the Internet. It will also curb terrorist travel, strengthen border controls, and protect easy to hit targets.

From August India will be the president of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the month and then the nation will host various events in the three major areas of fight against terrorism, maritime security and peacekeeping.

Highlights

About UNSC

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six main organs of the United Nations (UN). It is responsible for ensuring international peace and security, approving any changes to the UN Charter and recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly. Its powers include establishing enacting international sanctions, peacekeeping operations and authorizing military operations. The UN Security Council is the only UN agency that has the authority to issue binding resolutions for member states. António Guterres is the current Secretary-general of UNSC.

Rajya Sabha passed the Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill 2021 on July 30, 2021. The bill aims to make the Chairman of the Coconut Development Board a non-executive director.

Key Points

Benefits of this amendment

Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, stated that these amendments will benefit coconut growers and improve coconut cultivation in the area. The bill was passed to the uproar of the opposition parties. Opposition parties continued to protest Friday against the government’s alleged use of Pegasus spyware to spy on Indians and the three farm laws passed last year.

About Coconut Development Board

The Coconut Development Board (CBD) is a legal body under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of India, responsible for the comprehensive development of coconuts and coconut-related products. The board was established on January 12, 1981 and operates under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of India. Its headquarters is located in in Kochi, Kerala, and the regional offices are located in Bengaluru, Chennai and Guwahati. This board has six state centres which are situated at Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Thane, Patna, Hyderabad and Port Blair. It has 9 Demonstration cum Seed Production (DSP) Farms which are located in different locations across the country and as of now this board maintains 7 farms. In Delhi, a Market Development cum Information Centre has been established. The Board has also set up a Technology Development Centre at Vazhakulam which is located near Aluva in the state of Kerala.

July 30, 2021 Union Minister Jitendra Singh announced the “Biotech-PRIDE (Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) Guidelines” developed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology (DBT). This guideline is to enable information exchange and promote research and innovation in many research groups nationwide. The Secretary has also launched the website of the Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC).

Highlights

Bio-Grid

The BioGrid will become a national repository of knowledge, information, and biological data, and will be responsible for allowing their exchange, establishing security measures, standards and quality of data sets, and establishing detailed modes of access to data. The Biotech PRIDE Guidelines will facilitate this and allow the exchange of information to promote research and innovation by different research groups across the country.

Importance of PRIDE guidelines

The PRIDE guidelines will help coordinate, collaborate, and foster data sharing for research and analysis in the country, and will promote scientific work and advance progress based on previous work. These guidelines will also help avoid duplication and waste of research resources.

The ISRO-NASA Joint Mission NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite, which aims to measure changes in the earth’s surface globally using advanced radar images, is scheduled to be launched in early 2023.

Highlights

Developing NISAR

NASA is developing L-band SAR and related systems, while ISRO is developing S-band SAR, spacecraft bus, launch vehicle, and related launch services.

Objectives of the mission

The main scientific goal of this mission is to improve understanding of the effects of climate change on the planet’s changing ecosystems, terrestrial and coastal processes, land deformation, and the cryosphere. NISAR is one of the important cooperation projects between ISRO and NASA. India and the United States agreed to this mission during then US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in the year 2015.