Daily Current Affairs - 15-06-2021

European Space Agency (ESA) will  launch world’s first wooden satellite called WISA Woodsat in Earth’s orbit by the end of 2021.

WISA Woodsat

will be launched to test the applicability of wooden materials such as plywood in spacecraft structures. Mission will expose wooden materials to extreme space conditions like heat, cold, vacuum and radiation. Wooden satellite will be launched to space by end of 2021 with a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. It will be launched from Mahia Peninsula launch complex in New Zealand. Satellite has been designed and built in Finland.

Features of satellite

Satellite will orbit at around 500-600 km altitude in polar Sun-synchronous orbit. It is a10x10x10 cm nano satellite which was built up using standardised boxes and surface panels of plywood, which is usually found in hardware store and are used to make furniture. Wood have been placed in a thermal vacuum chamber to keep dry when it is in space. Thin layer of aluminium oxide has been applied to it to minimise vapour coming from wood and to protect it from erosive effects of atomic oxygen. The non-wooden external parts of satellite are corner aluminium rails which will be used for its deployment into space and a metal selfie stick.

While speaking at UN Trade Forum 2021, Union Minister Piyush Goyal has said, India’s per-capita carbon dioxide emission is lowest amongst big economies.

Highlights

About UN Trade Forum

UN Trade Forum was established as a space for dialogue on how trade can be harnessed to get a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

SDG are collection of 17 interlinked global goals which are designed to be a blueprint of achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. SDGs were set up in 2015 by United Nations General Assembly. They are intended to be achieved by 2030. SDGs are included in UN Resolution called “2030 Agenda” these goals were developed in Post-2015 Development Agenda as future global development framework and replaced the Millennium Development Goals which ended in 2015.

Researchers from Raman Research Institute (RRI), Space Applications Centre, Shiv Nadar University in Gautam Buddha Nagar and Université Rennes & Université Paris-Saclay of France have modulated light source and demodulated them at observer’s end to achieve sharper images.

Key Points

Background

Researchers have long attempted to use physics of scattering and computer algorithms to process resulting data and improve quality of images. But computer algorithms require processing of large volumes of data increasing storage and processing time.

About the technique

Researchers selected ten red LED lights as source of light. They modulated this source of light by varying current flowing through LEDs at a rate of about 15 cycles per second. A camera was installed at a distance of 150 metres from the LEDs, which captured image and transmitted it to desktop computer. Then, computer algorithms used knowledge of modulation frequency to extract characteristics of the source. This process is dubbed as ‘demodulation’.

Significance of technique

This technique is cost effective as it requires only a few LEDs and an ordinary desktop computer. It can improve landing techniques of aeroplanes by providing pilot with a good view of beacons across the runway. It is better than relying only on reflected radio waves. This method can also reveal obstacles in path which are otherwise hidden by fog in rail, sea, and road transportation. It can help in identifying lighthouse beacons.

Bihar exported the first commercial consignment of GI certified Jardalu mangoes from Bhagalpur to the United Kingdom. Jardalu mangoes from Bhagalpur district were given GI certification in 2018.

Highlights

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, (APEDA) in collaboration with Bihar government, Indian High Commission & Invest India, exported Jardalu mangoes. Mangoes were packed and treated at APEDA packhouse in Lucknow.

How APEDA has been contributing towards export?

Mango Production in India

Mango are referred to as king of fruits. They are also referred to as Kalpavriksha (wish granting tree) in ancient scriptures. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka have a major share in total production of Mango.

The Great Indian Bustards are making it slow to manoeuvre while flying. They have poor frontal vision and a habit of scanning earth while flying over flat grasslands across western borders of India. As a result, they often collide with power lines.

What is the issue?

Wide-open regions are home to Indian Bustard. These regions are also an ideal location for wind and solar projects. As a result, Indian Bustard are coming in way of renewable energy sources. Efforts to save bustard could set back India’s climate goals, which depend heavily on availability of such wasteland.

WII survey

As per Wildlife institute of India (WII), 80 kilometres of power lines across Thar desert region Rajasthan had led to death of four bustard deaths during a single year because of high-transmission wires. Birds died because of impact of collision or electrocution.

SC’s order

In a bid to protect great Indian bustard from flying into power lines, of 20 gigawatts of awarded solar & wind projects, Supreme Court had asked the companies to install these powers lines underground. But this directive would cost an extra expense of $4 billion.

Great Indian bustards

In Old French, Great Indian Bustards means “slow bird”. They are heaviest flying creatures on earth. They are 1 meter tall with a wing span of about 2 meters. They weigh about 18 kilograms. They are found on Indian subcontinent. As per an estimate their number has reduced from 250 in 2011 to 150 in 2018. Thus, they have been listed in “critically endangered” species by birdlife international and are protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972 of India.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have partnered with “Malaria No More” which is a non-governmental organisation.

Key Points

About IEC

IEC is part of a global initiative called “Forecasting Healthy Futures” which seeks to develop data-informed strategies & policies to improve health outcomes. It will focus on improving models to combat Malaria. IEC will comprise of leading experts & researchers from health, climate and technology fields. They will help in defining and operationalizing sophisticated climate-based malaria prediction tools. These tools will be tailored to Indian context in order to boost progress toward India’s goal of eliminating malaria by 2030.

Function of Committee

Committee will help in combining meteorological information with information from health sector to examine micro-trends and predict malaria patterns.  This can strengthen India’s efforts.

Role of ICMR

ICMR will provide scientific information to develop robust and scalable use cases to combat vector borne diseases.

Role of “Malaria No More”

Malaria No More will help in producing data-driven solutions, through its weather-based prediction model, to plan for national malaria prevention campaigns, test and treatment.

31st formal meeting of heads of government of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) was held on June 14, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. NATO summit 2021 is also being dubbed as Brussels summit of NATO.

Agenda of the meeting

NATO Leaders discussed key issues, took decisions about future of NATO and agreed on concrete measures to adapt NATO in accordance with NATO 2030 agenda. Topics of discussion include NATO’s role in changing geostrategic environment, emerging technologies, collective defence, climate change and security.

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NATO, also called as North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance of 30 European and North American countries. NATO implements North Atlantic Treaty which was signed in 1949. It comprises of a system of collective defence where independent member states agree for mutual defence in case of any attack by external party. Headquarter of NATO is located at Haren in Brussels, Belgium.

Members of NATO

Originally, NATO had 12 members which has increased to 30 now. Most recent member state is North Macedonia which was added to organisation on March 27, 2020. Aspiring members include- Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine.

Military Spending of NATO

Combined military spending of NATO members was over 57% of global nominal total in 2020. Members have aim of reaching or maintaining the target defence spending of at least 2% of their GDP by 2024.

According to World Giving Index 2021 report, India is 14th most charitable country across the world.

Highlights

Key Findings of report

World Giving Index (WGI)

WGI is a global survey. It has interviewed more than 1.6 million people since 2009. It conducts surveys by asking three questions: have they helped a stranger, given money, or volunteered for good cause in recent month.

Chinese spacecraft, Shenzhou-19, will blast off from Gobi Desert on a Long March rocket soon. Spacecraft will ferry three men to an orbiting space module where they will stay for three-month. This will be the first time China will send humans into space since 2016.

Highlights

Shenzhou-12 means Divine Vessel. It will be third out of 11 missions that China needs to complete China’s space station by 2022. Out of 11, four will be missions with people on board. Thus, a total of 12 Chinese astronauts will go into space.

About Shenzhou-12 Mission

This human spaceflight will also carry into space the hopes of some in Earth’s most populous nation. Shenzhou-12 crew will live on the Tianhe which is a cylinder having 16.6 metres length and 4.2 metres diameter. Crew will stay in space for three months, breaking its own record of 30 days stay in 2016 mission.

Background

Chinese astronauts have relatively low international profile currently because United States law banned NASA from any connection with China. Thus, Chinese astronauts have not been to International Space Station for more-than-two-decade. Thus, China is launching several space missions with the aim of becoming a major spacefaring power by 2030. Recently, in May 2021 it became second country to put a rover on Mars.

Reserve Bank of India on has expanded the scope of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) which will be effective from August 31, 2021.

How scope has been expanded?

Scope of BBPS has been expanded by adding ‘mobile prepaid recharges’ as a biller category. This move will help millions of prepaid phone subscribers across India.

Background

Scope and coverage of BBPS were expanded in September 2019 which then included all categories of billers raising recurring bills as eligible participants voluntarily. It did not included billers of mobile prepaid recharges. Before 2019, facility of payment of recurring bills through BBPS was available only to five sectors viz, direct to home (DTH), gas, electricity, water and telecom.

Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

BBPS, functioning under National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is an integrated bill payment system offering interoperable bill payment service to customers online and through a network of agents on ground. It provides for multiple payment modes and instant confirmation of payment.

National Payments Corporation of India

NPCI is an umbrella organisation that operates retail payments and settlement systems under the ownership of Reserve Bank of India. this not-for-profit organisation was founded in December 2008.  It is registered under Section 8 of Companies Act 2013.

Government will implement mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts from June 15, 2021.

Highlights

What is Gold Hallmarking?

Gold hallmarking is a purity certification for precious metal. Presently, gold hallmarking is voluntary. Currently, 40 % of the gold jewellery is being hallmarked.

Why Hallmarking is mandatory now?

Government has launched mandatory hallmarking of gold with the aim of ensuring consumers do not get cheated while buying ornaments. Mandatory hallmarking will protect public against lower caratage and it will ensure consumers get purity as marked on jewellery. Thus, from 15 June 2021, jewellers will only be allowed to sell gold jewellery of 14, 18 and 22 carats. Registration process has been made online and automatic.

Hallmarking scheme

BIS is already running the hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000. Government had announced mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery & artefacts in November 2019.

Current scenario

According to World Gold Council, India has about 4 lakh jewellers. Out of them only 35,879 have been BIS certified. There has been 25 per cent increase in assaying and hallmarking centres in last five years. With the existing capacity, 14 crore articles can be hallmarked in a year.

Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device ‘Jivan Vayu’ as a substitute for CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine.

About Jivan Vayu

Viral Filter

Jivan Vayu has an inbuilt viral filter at air entrainment end, with viral efficacy of 99.99 per cent. This filter ensures that air does not bring in any pathogens from environment.

Why it was developed?

This device was need of the hour amid the covid-19 pandemic when power supply is a key concern for saving lives of those who are on medical equipment like ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

World Blood Donor Day was observed on June 14 with the aim of creating awareness about need for safe blood and life-saving components of blood which is required for transfusion.

Theme of day 2021

This year, world blood donor day is being celebrated under theme- “Give blood and keep the world beating”.

Background

World Blood Donor Day is held on June 14, every year. First ever event was organised in 2005 as a joint initiative of World Health Organization, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The days seeks to raise awareness regarding the need for safe blood and blood products.  World Blood Donor Day is one among 11 official global public health campaigns marked by WHO. Other 10 events are World Health Day, World Tuberculosis Day, World Chagas Disease Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World Patient Safety Day, World Hepatitis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Health Day and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

Why is it celebrated on 14th June?

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on 14th June to mark birthday anniversary of Karl Landsteiner who was born on June 14, 1868. Landsteiner was awarded with Nobel Prize for his discovery of ABO blood group system.

Raja Parba festival has started being celebrated in Odisha on June 14, 2021. It is a 3-day festival that celebrates womanhood.

Key Points

About Raja Parba

Raja Parba is also known as Mithuna Sankranti. It is a three-day-long festival of celebrating womanhood in Odisha. Second day of the festival marks the beginning of solar month of Mithuna, on which season of rains starts. It is believed that mother Goddess Earth undergoes menstruation during first three days. Fourth day is called Vasumati Snana or ceremonial bath of Bhudevi. Name Raja came from Sanskrit word ‘Rajas’ which means menstruation. When a woman menstruates, she is called ‘Rajaswala’ or a menstruating woman. This festival became more popular in medieval time as an agricultural holiday marking worship of Bhudevi.

When and how it is celebrated?

This festival falls in mid-June. First day is called Pahili Raja, second day is Mithuna Sankranti while the third day is Bhudaaha or Basi Raja. Final fourth day is called Basumati snana on which ladies bath the grinding stone as a symbol of Bhumi with turmeric paste. All type of seasonal fruits is offered to Bhumi. Day before first day is called Sajabaja, during which house, kitchen including grinding stones are cleaned and spices are ground for three days. Women and girls take rest from work.