Daily Current Affairs - 09-06-2021

El Salvador has become the first country to formally adopt bitcoin as legal tender.  Proposal to legalise cryptocurrency was put forward by President Nayib Bukele which was later approved by Congress.

Highlights

Bitcoin Remittances in El Salvador

According to World Bank data, remittances from bitcoin to the country accounts for $6 billion in 2019. It is around a fifth of GDP & a highest ratio across the world.

Cryptocurrency

A digital asset which works as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in the form of a computerized database. A strong cryptography is used to secure transaction records, to control creation of additional coins and to verify transfer of ownership of coin. It does not exist in physical form and not issued by central authority. It is however considered as centralized, when it is minted or issued by a single issuer.  Bitcoin is the first decentralized cryptocurrency which was released in 2009.

Bitcoin

It is decentralized digital currency which lacks central bank or single administrator. It is sent from user to user on peer-to-peer bitcoin network. It does not need any intermediaries.

During 54th meeting of Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMS), central government has approval 708 proposals for construction of 3.61 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban (PMAY-U).

Highlights

Meeting was attended by 13 States and UTs. All these houses will be constructed on line of ‘Beneficiary led Construction’ and ‘Affordable Housing in Partnership Verticals’. Total investment under this mission is Rs. 7.35 lakh crores out of which centre is assisting Rs. 1.81 lakh crores. So far, 96067 crores of funds have been released.

How many houses have been constructed so far?

Lighthouse Projects

During the meeting, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs laid emphasis on 6 Light House Projects (LHPs). Foundation stones for these lighthouses were laid by PM Narendra Modi in January 2021. These are being constructed at Indore, Lucknow, Rajkot, Ranchi, Agartala and Chennai.

PMAY-U Awards 2021

‘PMAY-U Awards 2021- 100 Days Challenge’ was launched to recognize and celebrate outstanding performance & contribution by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), States and UTs for successfully implementing the mission.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is implanting this mission which was launched in June 2015 to address the problem of shortage of urban housing, It seeks to provide pucca houses to all eligible urban households by 2022.

Two species of monals were sighted together by local wildlife enthusiasts in upper Siang district of central Arunachal Pradesh. Monals is a colour pheasant.

Highlights

Monal bird

Monal bird belongs to genus Lophophorus of pheasant family called Phasianidae. Male birds have colourful, iridescent plumage with plump physique. They prefer like roots, bulbs and insects as diet. Males are polygamous during mating. They mate with several females. Females only mate with selected male and enter into monogamous relationship. They are listed as vulnerable due to habitat destruction and hunting.

Siang District

It is 21st district of Arunachal Pradesh which was created by bifurcating West Siang and East Siang districts. It was inaugurated on November 27, 2015 by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki. It derives the name from river Siang which flows through this district. Siang is believed to be originated from Angsi glacier on northern side of Himalayas. District is predominantly inhabited by Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

State-owned Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) has inked a pact with Ladakh administration to make Union Territory of Ladakh carbon-neutral.

About MoU

What are those projects?

CESL will take up projects like solar mini- and micro-grid solutions, energy storage-based solutions, energy-efficient lighting, efficient cooking stoves and electric mobility solutions. It will develop clean solutions for home appliances, electric heating, pump sets and cooking sets for very cold temperatures in Ladakh. It will also focus on EV ecosystem like EC charging infrastructure utilising renewable sources of power.

How these projects are significant?

Energy Access for Ladakh is foremost. UT needs sustainable solutions like decentralised energy-efficient solutions which can be easily implemented in the difficult terrains of Ladakh. Projects will eliminate fossil fuel to make Ladakh’s carbon-neutral. If the solar capacity is harnessed, it will trigger business and jobs in the region.

Union Health Ministry has capped the price for administration of Covid-19 vaccines in private hospitals.

Key Points

Vaccination Procurement

Centre government announced about purchase of 25 crores doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin. These 44 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be delivered between August and December 2021. 30 per cent advance to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech has been released to procure these doses. Further, Government also placed an order to purchase 30 crore doses of Biological E’s vaccine called Corbevax. It will be available by September.

Corbevax Vaccine

This vaccine, being developed by Biological-E, is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine. It is made up of a specific part of novel coronavirus called spike protein. Corbevax is similar to hepatitis vaccine. Thus, both the doses of Corbevax are tried & tested, unlike mRNA vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna which were rolled out against any pathogen. Corbevax will insert this spike protein from virus into human body to achieve an immune response. Presence of spike protein in human body will not be harmful because rest of the virus is absent.

In QS World University Rankings 2020, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati was ranked at 41st in ‘Research Citations per Faculty’ category.

Key Points

QS World University Rankings 2022

This ranking was announced on June 8 on the basis of six factors-

  1. Academic Reputation,
  2. Employers Reputation,
  3. Faculty Student ratio,
  4. Citation per Faculty,
  5. International Faculty and
  6. International Students.

QS World University Rankings

This annual university ranking is published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Earlier it was known as Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings. From 2004 to 2009, QS collaborated with Times Higher Education (THE) magazine to publish its international league. Later, both came with different methods to create ranking.

According to the Global Economic Prospects Update released by World Bank, global economy is expected to expand 5.6 per cent in 2021. This would be the fastest post-recession pace in 80 years because of strong rebounds from a few major economies.

Key Findings of prospects

What does report recommends?

Report highlights, globally coordinated efforts are need of the hour to accelerate vaccine distribution and debt relief specially among low-income countries. After health crisis eases, policymakers should address pandemic’s lasting effects and take steps to bring in green, resilient and inclusive growth.

According to annual survey of World’s most liveable cities 2021, Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up rankings of liveable cities.

Key Findings of report

European cities fared poorly

Vienna, which was world’s most liveable city during 2018-20, fell to 12th place. Eight of the top ten biggest falls in rankings goes to European cities. Port city of Hamburg in northern Germany fell by 34 places to 47th position in the list. European cities performed poorly because of increasing stress on hospital resources which resulted in a “deteriorated healthcare score”. Pressure on European health systems also affected culture and overall livability because of restrictions on movement.

Union government has appointed Anup Chandra Pandey, as Election Commissioner. He is a retired IAS officer if 1984 batch from Uttar Pradesh cadre. He will serve the office for around three years and will retire in February 2024.

Highlights

Background

He retired from civil services in August 2019. He had served as Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He also worked as the Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner of UP.

About Election Commission (ECI)

ECI is an autonomous constitutional authority that administers Union & State election processes in India. It was established on January 25, 1950 in accordance with constitution under article 324. It also administers elections to Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, President and Vice President. It is not concerned with elections to panchayats and municipalities. A separate State Election Commission is there to administer Panchayat & Municipality election.

About CEC

CEC and Election Commissioner are appointed by President for a fixed tenure of six years or till 65 years of age. They have same status, salary and perks as is available to Judges of Supreme Court of India.

Indian Navy is set to receive three of 24 MH-60 Romeo multirole helicopters from United States (US) in July 2021.

Background

India and US had signed a deal worth $2.4 billion in February 2020 to procure 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from Lockheed Martin.

Highlights

First batch of Indian pilots has reached US for training on helicopters. Pilots would undergo training first in Pensacola in Florida and then in San Diego in California.

About MH-60 Romeo

MH-60 Romeo helicopters have been designed to operate from aircraft carriers, cruisers, frigates and destroyers. It would be equipped with multi-mode radars and night vision devices. They would be armed with Hellfire missiles, precision-guided weaponry and torpedoes. These helicopters are built to target ships, submarines and conduct search & rescue operations at sea. It will replace Sea Kings.

ALH MK- III

Apart from Romeo, Indian Navy also inducted three indigenously-built advanced light helicopters called ALH MK-III. These helicopters will be used to ensure coastal security and maritime reconnaissance. Helicopters were made by Centre-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and are equipped with electro-optical equipment & modern surveillance radar. Thus, they offer long range search and rescue. They are also armed with a heavy machine gun.

36 years old Indian football, Sunil Chhetri, has surpassed Argentina’s Lionel Messi and has become second-highest active international goal-scorer with 74 strikes.

Highlights

Chhetri now leads Barcelona star Messi by two goals and is placed above Ali Mabkhout of UAE, who is at third place with 73 strikes. He achieved this feat against Bangladesh in joint preliminary qualifying round match for 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Sunil Chhetri

Indian professional footballer plays as striker or winger and is captain of both Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC and Indian national football team. He is popularly known as Captain Fantastic. Following Cristiano Ronaldo, Chhetri is the second-highest international goal scorer among active players while 10th highest of all time.

Background

His professional career started at Mohun Bagan in 2002. He signed for Major League Soccer in 2010 and become third player from subcontinent of note to go abroad. He helped India to win Nehru cup in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2011 SAFF Championship. He has been conferred with AIFF Player of the Year for a record six times in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 as well as in 2018–19.

On the line of Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards, Assam cabinet has decided to institute Asom Ratna Award.

About newly announced awards

Other Decisions taken by government

Russia is building its first naval ship which will be fully equipped with stealth technology. Stealth technology will to make it hard to detect.

Key points

Background

In recent years, Russia has invested heavily in its navy. This warship is also a part of push by President Vladimir Putin to revamp military which is already complicated due Western sanctions. Russia’s political ties with West are at worst since 1991 after breakup of Soviet Union.

Stealth Technology

This sub-discipline of military tactics is also called as low observable technology. It covers a range of methods used to make personnel, ships, aircraft, missiles, submarines, satellites, ground vehicles, infrared, sonar etc. Modern stealth technologies were started being developed in 1958 in United States.

NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation launched ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan’ to provide home-care support to asymptomatic covid-19 patients or patients with mild symptoms.

Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyan

Significance of campaign

This is a significant initiative which will provide long-term support to India’s poorest communities in Aspirational Districts by addressing impact of COVID-19. It will play a key role in district preparedness to manage nearly 70 percent of COVID cases at home. Thus, it will reduce pressure on health system. It will also carry capacity building of citizens for correct usage of Oxygen concentrators supplied to these districts.