Daily Current Affairs - 19-06-2021

The report titled “Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Special Report on Drought 2021” was published on June 18, 2021 by UNDRR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction). It will be a part of discussions at vital UN climate talks called Cop26, scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

Key findings

Scenario on Developed countries

Report highlights that, even the developed countries are not immune to drought. US, Australia and southern Europe have experienced drought in recent past. Drought costs more than us dollar 6 billion a year in US while euro 9 billion in EU. As per report, Population growth is also exposing more people to the impacts of drought in many regions.

Reasons for drought

Changing rainfall patterns because of climate breakdown are key driver of drought. However, report identifies inefficient use of water resources, degradation of land under intensive agriculture and poor farming practices also plays crucial role. Deforestation, overuse of fertilisers & pesticides, overgrazing & over-extraction of water for farming are some other factors.

According to Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari, central government has set target to reduce road accident deaths by 50% by year 2024.

Role of Corporates in Arresting Road Fatalities

4-E formula to reduce deaths

Ministry of road & transport is seeking hard to reduce road accident deaths by restructuring and strengthening four ‘E’ of road safety. 4E’s include- Engineering (road & automobile engineering), Economy, Enforcement and Education.

Road accidents in India

Road accidents in India are a major cause of deaths, injuries and property damage. According to world bank data, though India accounts for 1 per cent of world’s vehicles but it accounts for 11 per cent of global death in road accidents. It stands highest worldwide. About 4.5 lakh road crashes occurs, in which 1.5 lakh people die per annum in India. It witnesses 53 road crashes every hour and killing of 1 person every 4 minutes. As per report, road accidents costs at Rs 5.96 lakh crore or 3.14 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Ministry of tourism has released three draft strategies in order to boost tourism sector in aftermath of covid-19 pandemic. Draft strategies were put forward with roadmaps to promote India as a rural and medical tourism destination.

National Strategy and Roadmap for Development of Rural Tourism

Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism

It seeks to promote India as an accessible and affordable destination of medical treatments and wellness courses. Key drivers for growth of medical tourism and wellness tourism includes affordability & accessibility of good healthcare services, minimal waiting time, facilitation around hospitality services, availability of latest medical technologies & accreditations. This draft is in line with government of India’s recognition to medical value travel and wellness tourism as an important sector which is having potential of accelerating India’s development & attaining objective of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Aim of national strategy

National strategy was released with the aim of providing an institutional framework which can strengthen the ecosystem for medical & wellness tourism and develop a brand & ensuring quality assurance.

MICE destination

Draft to position India as a MICE destination was also put forward. MICE stand for “Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions”. It is recognised as a significant market segment and a significant contributor to national economies.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cleared proposal to takeover of Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperatives Bank (PMC Bank) by a consortium of non-bank lender Centrum Financial Services & fintech startup BharatPe.

Background

This decision was taken in the backdrop of collapse of Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperatives Bank. This state cooperative lender was on the verge of collapse when regulator seized it on September 24, 2019. Regulator seized the cash withdrawals for six months and launched an investigation into its accounting lapses. Following this, Centrum Financial Services and BharatPe had submitted a joint proposal to overtake PMC Bank in February 2021.

RBI’s Approval

RBI has decided to grant in-principle approval to Centrum so as to set up a small finance bank. It will be set up under on-tap licensing norms. On-tap licensing means, when regulator gives out bank licences on continuous basis rather than once in several years.

Centrum Financial Services

It is a step-down subsidiary of listed entity Centrum Capital which provides credit to small and mid-sized companies having asset of ₹2 lakh to ₹2 crore. Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd, operating BharatPe, will also be an equal partner in small finance bank.

Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank Limited (PMC)

PMC is a multi-state co-operative bank that was established in 1983. It has 137 branches across India while about 100 branches are in Maharashtra. It is regulated by Reserve Bank of India and is registered under Cooperative Societies Act.

Four-day Summit for vaccine internationalism by Progressive International was opened on June 18, 2021.

Highlights

Agenda of the summit

Background

This summit is being organised in the backdrop of fears on vaccine nationalism, where developed economies were benefiting due to production of home-grown vaccine while, poor countries were not getting access to vaccine which was prolonging the covid-19 pandemic.

Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) are conducting their first ever exercise in Gulf of Aden. This two-day exercise will end on June 19, 2021.

Key Points

About the exercise

The two-day exercise witnessed high tempo-naval operations at sea such as advanced air defence & anti-submarine exercises, cross deck helicopter operations, boarding operations, tactical manoeuvres, underway replenishment, search & rescue etc. Ships of four navies endeavour to enhance their war-fighting skills and their ability to promote peace, security and stability in maritime domain. EUNAVFOR and Indian Navy also saw eye-to-eye on multiple issues such as counter piracy operations and protection of vessels which were deployed under charter of World Food Programme (UN WFP).

Indian Navy and EUNAVFOR

Both the navies conduct regular interaction through SHADE (Shared Awareness and Deconfliction) meetings which is held annually at Bahrain. It highlights their shared values of ensuring freedom of seas.

Indian Athlete Milkha Singh passed away at the age of 91 due to Covid-19 related complications on June 18, 2021.

Who was Milkha Singh?

Captain Milkha Singh, known as The Flying Sikh, was an Indian track and field sprinter. He was introduced to sport while serving the Indian Army. He is the only athlete who won gold in 400 metres race at Asian Games & Commonwealth Games. He won gold medals in 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He also represented India in 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was conferred India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, Padma Shri for his sporting achievements.

Why Milkha Singh is called as Flying Sikh?

During the 1960 Olympic Games, he finished to fourth-place in 400 metres final. Several records were broken in race. He finished to fourth-place in 45.73 seconds which was an Indian national record for almost 40 years.

Debswana Diamond Company have unearthed world’s third-largest diamond in Jwaneng mine of Botswana in South Africa.

Key Points

About third largest diamond

Diamond is measuring 73mm long, 52mm wide, and 27mm thick. It is yet to be named.

Background

Debswana company had witnessed a 29 per cent fall in production to 16.6 million carats and a 30 per cent drop in sales amid the covid-19 pandemic. Thus, unearthing of third largest diamond becomes significant.

About Debswana Diamond Company

It is a joint venture between global diamond giant De Beers and government. 80 percent of the income earned by selling of diamonds by Debswana goes to government by means of royalties, dividends, and taxes.

Election Commission of India released ‘General Elections 2019: An Atlas’ recently.

Highlights

General Elections 2019: An Atlas

  1. Data from 23 States and UTs where female voting percentage was higher than a male voting percentage.
  2. Information regarding smallest and largest parliamentary constituency with respect to candidates or electors.
  3. Performance of political parties.

Benefits of Atlas

Atlas provide information for better understanding of Indian electoral diversity and provide insights into electoral patterns across different levels. It will serve as an illustrative and informative document which will help in understanding nuances of Indian electoral process and help in analysing changes & trends in India.

Indian Coast Guard is on vigilance after oil spill was reported from Haldia-bound Portuguese flag container ship.

Key Points

What is Oil Spill?

Oil spill can be defined as “uncontrolled release of crude oil, gasoline, fuels, or other oil by-products” into environment. It can pollute land, air, or water; however, the term is mostly used for oceanic oil spills. They have become a major environmental problem because of intensified petroleum exploration & production on continental shelves and transportation of huge amounts of oils in vessels.

Impact of Oil spills

According to a study conducted to project different greenhouse gas scenario, Sea-level will rise around Lakshadweep Islands by 0.4 mm/year to 0.9 mm/year.

Key Findings

What does study suggest for protection of island?

Study suggests to have appropriate coastal protection measures and best-practices to formulate planning guidelines. Study proposes for  outlook and dimension on future research which will assess directional nature of wave energy, impact of storminess in Arabian Sea region, islands that are exposed & sheltered and amenities like potable water, sanitation etc.

India and Bhutan have signed an MoU to develop cooperation between two countries in the area of environment.

Key Points about MoU

Impact of MoU

MoU will facilitate exchange of experiences, best practices and technical knowhow between both the countries by means of public and private sectors and will contribute to sustainable development. However, no significant employment generation is envisaged through it.

Who will meet the Expenditure?

Financial implications of MoU are limited to holding of bilateral meetings or Joint Working Group meetings, alternatively in India and Bhutan. Travel cost of their delegation will be met by sending side while receiving side will bear the cost of organizing meetings and other logistic arrangements.

India Post is going to release a ‘Special Cancellation’ on the occasion of International Yoga Day (IYD) on June 21, 2021 to capture essence of the day. It is a unique initiative to mark commemoration of 7th International Day of Yoga.

Key Points

Activities by Post offices

All Post Offices in Delhi are affixing message “Be with Yoga, Be at Home” on mail being booked and delivered. Video is also being played in 60 Post major Offices of Delhi to promote Yoga among visitors of Post Offices.

International Day of Yoga

This day is celebrated annually on June 21 since 2015. It was incepted in United Nations General Assembly in 2014.

India Post

India Post, earlier known as Department of Post, is a government-operated postal system of India. It works under jurisdiction of Ministry of Communications. Warren Hastings had started the Postal Service in British India, under the name ‘Company Mail’ in 1788. Lord Dalhousie modified it into a service under “Crown” in 1854.

Quality Council of India (QCI) and Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Devices (AiMeD) have launched “Indian Certification of Medical Devices Plus (ICMED) Scheme”.

About ICMED 13485 scheme

Significance of scheme

Scheme will assist procurement agencies to tackle challenges related to counterfeit products and fake certification. It will also eliminate circulation and use of sub-standard medical products or devices of doubtful origin.

Quality Council of India (QCI)

QCI was set up in 1997 as public private partnership model based on the model existing in Netherlands. QCI was  organized as an independent autonomous body which worked for assuring quality standards across all spheres of economic and social activities. It was established under Societies Registration Act in 1997 to provide accreditation services across different sectors for product, services and persons.

Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda, will inaugurate Second National Sickle Cell Conclave on the occasion of World Sickle Cell Awareness Day 2021 on June 19.

National Sickle Cell Conclave

This conclave is held to mark world Sickle Cell Day every year. It is being organised by Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Apollo Hospitals, Novartis, Piramal Foundation etc. It will arrange discussions about latest advances and future trends in treatment of SCD on vulnerable patient population.

What is Sickle cell disease (SCD)?

SCD is the most prevalent inherited blood disorder or a genetic red blood cell disorder. People with sickle cell disorders don’t have enough healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body. It is widespread amongst many tribal population groups in India. Several cost-effective interventions have reduced morbidity and mortality from SCD in India. However, access to care for SCD in tribal regions limited. SCD is prevalent predominantly in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, western Odisha, eastern Gujarat and Nilgiri Hills of north Tamil Nadu & Kerala.

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day 2021

World Sickle Cell Day is observed every year on June 19. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to recognise sickle cell disease as a public health problem on December 22, 2008.