Daily Current Affairs - 01-06-2021

Global cybersecurity firm, Sophos, published it “the State of Ransomware 2021 report’. It finds, 68% of Indian organisations were by ransomware in last 12 months.

Key findings

Impact of attack

Ransomware attacks has significant financial repercussions. Survey highlights, average total cost of recovery from a ransomware attack was more than double in a year. It increased from $7,61,106 in 2020 to $1.85 million in 2021 across the world. However, In India, recovery cost from tripled in a year, $1.1 million in 2020 to $3.38 in 2021.

Economic research department of State Bank of India has published “Ecowrap 2021” report and revised real GDP projection for Financial Year 2022 to 7.9 percent from 10.4 percent earlier. Report highlights disproportionately larger impact of second wave of Covid-19 pandemic on economy.

Key Findings

Impact of third wave

As per report, average duration of third wave for top countries is 98 days while that of second wave is 108 days. Third wave peak was in multiple of second at 1.8 and second wave as a multiple of first at 5.2 in those countries. While, in India it was at 4.2). Thus, it suggests intensity of third wave is severe. However, if India is better prepared, decline in serious case rate will decrease the number of deaths.

Naomi Osaka, announced her withdrawal from Roland Garros 2021, after she was fined by French Open.

What was the issue?

French open fined her $15,000 and warned that she could face expulsion from tournament because she decided not to speak with press during tournament.

Background

Osaka had won her first match against Patricia Maria Tig. She was scheduled to face Ana Bogdan in second round before she released her intention to skip media obligations during Roland Garros. She decided so because media interaction was affecting her mental health.

Who is Naomi Osaka?

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese professional tennis player. She has been ranked No. 1 by Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). She is the first Asian player to hold top ranking in singles. She has won Grand Slam singles champion for four times. She has been reigning champion at US Open as well as Australian Open. At 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, she won her first two Grand Slam singles titles. She also became first woman to win successive Grand Slam singles titles after Serena Williams in 2015.

About French Open

Major tennis tournament, also called Roland-Garros, is held over two weeks at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. It starts in May end each year. Tournament and venue have been named after French aviator Roland Garros.

According to Union Government, about 7.63 million salaried workers have used their retirement savings to deal with covid-19 crisis since 2020. Back then, centre had allowed EPF subscribers to withdraw more money from their Employees’ Provident Fund corpus so that they can deal with hardships and income loss.

What does it reflect?

EPFO’s (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) efforts to offer non-refundable advances amid covid-19 helped millions. EPF subscribers had withdrawn almost ₹18,700 crore by May 31, 2021. Disbursements also reflect hardships that salaried class is facing amid pandemic.

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

EPFO is social security body responsible for running and supervising “state pension scheme” for people across India. It assists Central Board in administering compulsory contributory provident fund, pension and insurance scheme for workforce. It implements bilateral social security agreements among countries. Schemes cover both Indian workers and international workers in countries. Central Board of Trustees (CBT) is the apex decision making body of EPFO. CBT is a statutory body established by the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. It works under Ministry of Labour and Employment.

Recently a study was conducted to calculate human cost of climate change. According to it, more than one-third of world’s heat deaths are related to global warming each year.

Key Findings

Climate Change

It includes global warming caused due to human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and large-scale shifts in weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climatic change but since mid-20th century, humans have negatively impacted Earth’s climate system and caused global climate change.

Sources of greenhouse gases

Largest contributor of warming is emission of gases which result into greenhouse effect. In thus, 90% share is carbon dioxide (CO) and methane.  Use of Fossil fuel, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, for energy consumption is main source of emissions. Some contribution is accounted from agriculture, deforestation, and manufacturing as well.

World is celebrating “World Milk Day” on June 1, 2021 under the theme- “sustainability in the dairy sector with messages on nutrition”.

Background of World Milk Day

The day is celebrated since 2001. It was established by Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations. The day is observed to appreciate dairy farmers and dairy sector. It recognises the importance of milk as global food.

Significance of Dairy Sector in India

India is one among the largest producer of milk in world. Dairy sector supports livelihoods of millions of people in country.

Evolution of Dairy Sector in India

In the initial phases of India’s independence (in 1955) India’s butter imports were 500 tons per year. By 1975, India became self-sufficient in milk production and all imports of milk and milk products were stopped. The medal of success of milk production in India goes to Dr Verghese Kurien.

White Revolution

White Revolution in India was started by Dr Verghese Kurein in 1970. He is therefore known as “Father of the White Revolution” in India. He is known for his efforts in turning India into largest producer from milk deficient country. He led to establishment of institutions like Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd and National Dairy Development Board. Both of these institutions played a significant role in shaping Dairy Cooperative movement.

Manthan

Manthan was made with the efforts of Dr Kurien in 1976. It was directed by Shyam Benegal while script of film was written by Dr Kurien and Vijay Tendulkar. About 500,000 farmers donated ₹ 2 to produce Manthan. It traces the origins of largest dairy development programme of world.

Goa government established “Goa Institution for Future Transformation (GIFT)” on the line of NITI Ayog.

About GIFT

Background

Union Cabinet had approved proposal of setting up GIFT. Later, Chief Minister of Goa late Manohar Parrikar had discontinued State Planning Board from April 1, 2017 after union government discontinued Planning Commission at national level. Announcement to constitute GIFT was made by Sawant in his budget speech. GIFT was earlier named as “State Institution for Transforming Goa (SIT-Goa)”.

Planning Commission

It is institution of Government of India, best known for formulation of India’s Five-Year Plans. It was dissolved in 2017 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to dissolve the commission in his first Independence Day speech in 2014. Ex officio members of the Commission were Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister, Health Minister, Home Minister, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister, Law Minister, Information Technology Minister, Minister of state for Planning and Human Resource Development Minister.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended several names, to label emerging coronavirus variants of global concern, after four letters of Greek alphabet. It named B.1.617.2 variant, identified first in India, as Delta.

Highlights

Variants of concerns

WHO has identified four VOCs- B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P2 and B.1.617.2. they have been labelled as ‘Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta’ respectively.

Variants of Interest

The variants of Interest were, less globally widespread and transmissible, also given Greek names. B.1.617 virus, belonging to B.1.617 family was identified in India which has been labelled as ‘Kappa.’

Indian variant of coronavirus

Virus B.1.617.2 is called as Indian Variant in UK. It is spreading more quickly than Kent variant, which was responsible for the surge in cases during winters. There have been about 8,000 cases of B.1.617.2 variant in England and 1,000 in Scotland.  Variant is causing majority of infection in England in areas like Bolton, Blackburn etc. It spreads more easily than Kent variant (B.1.1.7). Transmission rates for B.1.617.2 were roughly two-thirds higher than Kent.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) released India’s gross domestic product (GDP) data for January-March quarter of financial year 2020-21. According to it, Indian economy is likely to expand in positive territory from December quarter.

Highlights

Growth Prediction

Growth will remain low in first quarter of 2021-22 because of severity of second wave. Provisional estimate of 2020-21 GDP numbers are slightly better.

Central Statistics Office (CSO)

A governmental agency, working under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. It is responsible for coordination of statistical activities in India. It maintains statistical standards and has a well-equipped Graphical Unit. Headquarter is in Delhi.

FICCI has published its quarterly “Business Confidence Survey”. According to it, Business confidence of Indian companies has come down to its lowest in three quarters in May. In last survey, confidence was at decadal high.

Key findings of Survey

What FICCI suggests?

It suggests, measures to support demand is crucial for economy to recover from covid shock. Further, increased pace of vaccination will help in achieving faster normalization.

What are the concerns?

As per survey, rising raw material costs is a major problem for fourth consecutive survey. Around 65% the participants stated higher raw material costs is a constraint.

Employment and exports

Employment and exports have also deteriorated in this survey. Just 19% of participants were optimistic about better hiring prospects while 27% participants indicated higher outbound shipments. 80% of the companies were facing issues in carrying out their business.

IIT Ropar has developed “AmbiTAG” which is India’s first indigenous temperature data logger developed for cold chain management.

About AmbiTAG

AmbiTAG is shaped as USB device. It continuously records temperature of its immediate surroundings. It can detect temperatures “from -40 to +80 degrees” in any time zone for 90 days on a single charge unlike other devices available in market that record data only for duration of 30- 60 days. Recorded data can be retrieved by connecting USB with any computer.

Significance of Logger

Who developed the device?

Ambitag was developed under Technology Innovation Hub – AWaDH which stands for “Agriculture and Water Technology Development Hub” and its Startup ScratchNest.

About AWaDH

AWaDH is a research center at IIT Ropar. It was established with support of Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB). It carries out extensive research in agriculture and water.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has cut India’s growth projection to 9.9 % for Financial Year 2022. In March, it estimated growth to 12.6%. Rate was cut witnessing covid cases lockdowns which have threatened to stall nascent economic recovery of India.

Key Points

How second wave hit Indian Economy?

Second wave of covid-19 pandemic has hit India hard. Statewide lockdowns have stalled economic activity. Though, officially second wave is declining, the virus is spreading to hinterlands, which further pushing economic recovery to uncharted territory.

Projected Growth

It is projected that; India will be fastest-growing G20 economy in 2021. It will also move away furthest from its pre-crisis gross domestic product (GDP) trend. Demand for consumer durables and exports of manufacturing goods & services will also act in favour.

A businessman from Kuwait, Jassem Buabbas, is breeding “superworms” for animal feed since years. He is now hoping that, superworms will find their way into diets of Gulf citizens.

Highlight

Can insects be food alternatives?

Insects are widely eaten around the globe. About 1,000 species appears on dinner plates of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Apart from traditional diets, cricket pasta & mealworm smoothies have become latest food trend. Edible insects are promoted as sustainable alternative to regular protein sources.

What are Superworms?

Superworms are larvae of species of darkling beetle called Zophobas morio. They are also called as King Worms, Morio Worms or Zophobas and are commonly used as food in reptile pet industry. They should not be confused with giant mealworms which are Tenebrio molitor larvae. Superworms larvae resemble 50 to 60 mm long mealworms. However, ends of their bodies are very dark. They have 6 small legs. Insects are accepted by turtle, lizards, salamanders, frogs, birds etc. Nutritional value of superworms are similar to those of mealworms.

Mumbai-based start-up, Indra water has developed “Vajra Kavach Disinfection System” which removes scourge of viral particles from equipment used by Corona warriors front line workers.

About Disinfection System

Who developed the system?

Validation and testing of system was done by Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering at IIT Bombay.

How testing was done?

It went through a long trial and testing process. Testing was done with Escherichia virus MS2; which is a single-stranded RNA virus similar to human respiratory viruses like influenza virus and coronavirus; and E.coli strain C3000. While testing it, full loads of virus and bacteria samples were placed PPE kit and was then placed inside Vajra Kavach. After disinfection cycle time, PPE was removed and sample was rechecked to assess growth rate and log reduction of virus.

How this system disinfects materials?

System comprises of multistage disinfection process having advanced oxidation, corona discharge and UV-C light spectrum which inactivate viruses, bacteria, and other microbial strains from materials.

According to Dr N K Arora, chairman of Covid-19 working group under National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), India may soon start testing feasibility of mixing two different doses of Covid vaccines to check whether it helps in boosting immune response against virus or not.

Highlights

Background

Recently, on May 12, Oxford University-led study had released that, people who received Pfizer’s vaccine followed by a dose of AstraZeneca’s or vice versa, are likely to show mild or moderate common post-vaccination symptoms as compared to symptoms of receiving two doses of same type.

National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG)

NITAG is an advisory committee comprising of multidisciplinary groups of experts. They help in providing information to national governments so that, evidence-based decisions can be made with respect to vaccine and immunization policy. Such groups have been established by many industrialised and developed countries to guide immunization policies.