Daily Current Affairs - 12-06-2021

During the curtain raiser event for 7th International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 11, 2021, a mobile application called “Namaste Yoga” was launched. This app in devoted to Yoga.

Key Points

International Day of Yoga (IDY)

IDY is observed on 21st June every year. In the year 2021, IDY will be celebrated under theme- “Yoga at home and Yoga with Family”. In 2020, theme for the day was ‘Yoga for Health – Yoga at Home’.

Background

India had proposed for idea of IDY during the opening of 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014. UN passed resolution in December 2014 and proclaimed 21st June as IDY. First Yoga Day was celebrated in 2015 at Rajpath, New Delhi. It created Guinness World Records for being world’s largest yoga session with 35,985 people. It was participated by 84 nationalities.

India’s forex reserves crossed $600 mark for the first time and as on June 4, it stood at $605 billion. With this, India equals Russia as the fourth largest reserve holder worldwide.

Highlights

Foreign exchange or Forex reserves

Forex are assets on reserves which are held by central bank in foreign currencies. It includes bonds, treasury bills and other government securities. Most of the foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars. These reserves serve several purposes and ensure that central bank has backup funds in case national currency rapidly becomes insolvent or devaluate. India’s Forex Reserves include- Gold, Foreign Currency Assets, Special Drawing Rights and Reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Foreign Currency Assets

Assets which are valued on the basis of currency other than own currency of any country are called as foreign currency assets. It is the largest component of forex reserve and is expressed in dollar terms.

Special Drawing Rights

These international reserve assets are created by International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969.  These are neither a currency nor a claim on IMF, but a potential claim on freely usable currencies of members of IMF.

UN General Assembly (UNGA) has approved nomination of Rebecca Grynspan to head United Nations Conference on Trade and development (UNCTAD). She is an economist from Costa Rica.

Key Points

Background

Rebecca Grynspan has been secretary-general of Ibero-American General Secretariat since 2014. This secretariate supports preparations for Ibero-American summits. She has also worked as deputy administrator of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) from 2010 to 2014. She also served as UNDP’s regional director for Latin America and Caribbean.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD was established as permanent intergovernmental body in 1964. It is a part of United Nations Secretariat that deals in trade, investment, and developmental issues. It seeks to maximize trade, investment and development opportunities in developing countries and assist them in integrating into world economy on equitable basis. It was established by United Nations General Assembly and it reports to UN General Assembly and United Nations Economic & Social Council.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended Risk-Based Internal Audit (RBIA) rules to all deposit-taking and non-deposit taking HFCs (Housing Finance Companies) who are having assets above Rs 5,000 crore. These rules will be effective from June 30, 2022.

Highlights

Earlier on February 3, RBI had made these rules applicable to other entities as well. After internal audit rules extended to HFCs, share price of HFCs took a beating.  Share price of LIC Housing Finance fell down by 1.5% to Rs 519 per piece.

What are the new rules?

Risk-based internal audit (RBIA)

RBIA is an internal methodology, primarily focused on inherent risk involved with activities or system. It provides assurance regarding the management of risk within defined risk appetite level.  It is a risk management framework of management which seeks to reinforce responsibility of management and BOD (Board of Directors) for managing risk at every stage.

European Space Agency (ESA) has announced about its probe called ‘EnVision’ to study Venus, after American Space agency NASA decided to send two missions to the planet.

About EnVision

Why Venus is attracting scientists?

Venus is the closest neighbour of Earth in inner solar system. It is similar in size & composition to Earth. Despite that, both the planets have evolved differently. Venus is not inhabitable like Earth but has witnessed severe climatic changes. It has developed a toxic atmosphere which is enshrouded with thick sulphuric acid-rich clouds.

What EnVision will study?

Orbiter Envision will be loaded with a sounder which will study underground layering, and spectrometer which will study atmosphere & surface. Spectrometers will monitor trace gases in atmosphere and analyse surface composition and look for any changes which could be linked to signs of active volcanism. A radio science experiment on orbiter will probe internal structure and gravity field of planet.

Education ministry has developed an online module to compile data on out-of-school children. Ministry has also asked states and union territories to upload a quarterly progress report.

About the Module

Why this module was developed?

This module was developed as experts and academicians were of the view that, millions of students dropped out of schools amid the covid-19 pandemic as educational institutions are not open and are taking classes online. Reverse migration has also worsened the scenario.

Samagra Shiksha

It is an integrated scheme for school education which extends from pre-school to class XII. It ensures inclusive and equitable quality education at all the levels in school. This scheme was launched by subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Teacher Education (TE) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). It mainly focuses on improving quality of school education by emphasising on two T’s- Teacher and Technology.

Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh inaugurated two Centres of Excellence (CoE) established by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at Seema Sadak Bhawan in New Delhi.

About Centres of Excellence

Significance of CoEs

CoEs will play a significant role in saving precious lives. It will help in saving lives. As per data, this silent pandemic (road accidents) claims about 1.5 lakh lives every year. To save these lives, several measures like National Road Safety Policy, Motor Vehicle Act 2020 and identification of black spots on national highways have been initiated. CoEs will further boost the efforts of government.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

BRO is a road construction executive force which is part of Indian Armed Forces. It develops and maintains road networks across border areas and friendly neighbouring countries. It carries infrastructure operations in 19 states, three union territories and neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

According to member of NITI Aayog, Dr VK Paul, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will start 4th national Covid-19 serosurvey.

Highlights

What is Sero Survey?

Sero survey is used to determine prevalence of coronavirus antibodies among community. In the survey, blood samples are tested for presence of IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies. These antibodies determine a past coronavirus infection. IgG appear within two weeks of covid-19 infection. However, it is unclear how long antibodies detectably persist in body. Their presence indicates past exposure to virus and not its presence in the body. This facility-oriented surveillance is expansion of testing of flu and serious respiratory cases in hospitals which are being carried out by government.

Why Sero-testing is conducted?

Sero-survey is a more focused population-based survey of high and low -risk groups in select districts different then the routine testing. Sero survey helps government and its agencies to monitor Covid-19 trends and helps to check for community transmission.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released new framework for broadcasting and cable services by amending interconnection regulations of 2017.

Background

New Technical Framework

What is CAS?

CAS is which is a digital mode of transmitting TV channels using a set-top box. These transmission signals are encrypted and viewers are required to buy a set-top box to receive and decrypt signal.

About Subscriber Management System

SMS is a customer-centric care and billing solution which helps multi-play operators to beat competition and meet information technology challenges of serving full needs.

E-commerce giant, Flipkart, has partnered with Telangana government to lead “Medicines from the Sky” project.

Medicines from the Sky project

How covid-19 crisis pushed for technological development?

COVID-19 crisis has pushed for rapid development of scalable and robust technologies for faster delivery of medicines and services in order to contain the pandemic. ‘Medicines from the Sky project’ is a testament of this push.

What is Beyond Visual Line of Sight?

Distances where drones and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) operate outside its normal visible range are known as beyond visual line of sight. It is the second stage of testing of drones. Drones are operated within visual line of sight in first phase of testing.

India and Kuwait signed an MoU on cooperation on domestic worker recruitment on June 10, 2021.

About MoU

Background

MoU was signed between Indian Ambassador Sibi George and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait Majdi Ahmad Al-Dhafiri during a three-day bilateral visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Kuwait to mark 60th anniversary of establishment of bilateral relations between India and Kuwait.

Indians in Kuwait

Community of Indians in Kuwait comprises of Indian expatriates in Kuwait and Kuwaiti citizens of Indian origin or by descent. As per Indian ministry of external affairs, about 10 lakh Indians are residing in Kuwait as of 2020. Majority of Indians belong to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. India is one of the largest trading partners of Kuwait and Kuwait is a key supplier of oil to India.

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held meeting recently in Cornwall and inspected documents related to Atlantic Charter and signed a document titled “New Atlantic Charter”.

What is New Atlantic Charter?

New Atlantic Charter is an agreement was signed on June 10, 2021 at 2021 G7 summit in England between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden. It is a new version of the Atlantic Charter of 1941. Agreement was signed to redefine Western alliance.

Objectives of New Atlantic Charter

New Atlantic Charter was signed with the objective of defending principles & institutions of democracy and strengthening & adapting the institutions. Charter seeks to remain united behind principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity & peaceful resolution of disputes. It will also try to maintain collective security & international stability even against cyber threats.  It prioritises climate change across all international action.

What is Atlantic Charter?

Atlantic Charter is a declaration signed in August 1941 (after the end of second world war) by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Charter sets out common goals like free trade, disarmament & right to self-determination of all people. It is often called as a cornerstone of trans-Atlantic special relationship. This charter led to dismantling of British Empire and formation of NATO & General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Countries including Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been elected unopposed to powerful UN Security Council (UNSC) as non-permanent members for 2022-23 term.

Key Points

Regional distribution of seats in UNSC

As per regional distribution for 2021 election, three seats were available from African & Asian States. Gabon, Ghana and United Arab Emirates won these three sears. Apart from that, one Latin American and Caribbean Group seat was available for which Brazil was elected. While, Albania won Eastern European Group seat.

Which countries are retiring?

Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam will complete their two-year terms on UNSC in 2021. Thus, to fill this seat, new non-permanent members were elected. They will sit the table along with five permanent members China, France, Russia, United Kingdom & United States and five non-permanent members India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico & Norway. India will also assume rotating Presidency of Security Council in August.

Election to non-permanent members

Election for the non-permanent members of UNSC is held by secret ballot. Candidates require a two-thirds majority in UNGA to be elected as non-permanent member. Five countries are elected to Council of 15-member (UNSC) as non-permanent members for two-year term.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India has released an independent report and lauded Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) as ‘a successful model of local area development’.

Key findings of report

UNDP on health & nutrition and financial inclusion

As per the report, more than 9.6% home deliveries are attended by skilled birth attendant. About 5.8% more pregnant women with severe anaemia, and 4.8% children diagnosed with diarrhoea are treated. In the first trimester, 4.5% pregnant women register for antenatal care. Under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, about 1580 accounts opened per 1 lakh population. UNDP found ‘Malaria Mukt Bastar Abhiyaan’ in Bijapur and Dantewada as one of the best practices in ADP. This abhiyaan has reduced malaria incidences by 71% and 54% in two districts respectively.

Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP)

ADP was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2018. It is a part of government’s effort to raise living standards of its citizens and ensure inclusive growth for all under his vision of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.

Maharashtra Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray cleared an action plan to protect ancient and old trees aged 50 years and above in urban areas.

Heritage Tree

What are those amendments?

Tree Authority