Daily Current Affairs - 21-06-2021

Central government is planning to make production of vehicle with flex-fuel engines mandatory for carmakers in India.

Highlights

What is flex-fuel vehicle?

Flexible-fuel vehicle of flex-fuel vehicle or dual-fuel vehicle is an alternative fuel vehicle in which internal combustion engine are designed to run on more than one fuel. They usually run-on gasoline blended with either ethanol or methanol fuel. Both of the fuels are stored in same common tank. Modern flex-fuel engines can burn any proportion of resulting blend in combustion chamber because fuel injection and spark timing are adjusted automatically in accordance with actual blend detected by fuel composition sensor.

Are they different than Bi-fuel Vehicles?

They are different than bi-fuel vehicles, where two fuels are stored in separate tanks and engine runs on one fuel at a time.

Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has reconstituted its Takeover Panel.

About Takeover Panel

Function of takeover panel

This panel makes its recommendations to Sebi on applications following which SEBI gives an opportunity to concerned parties before passing any order.

Members of the panel

Other members of takeover panel are:

  1. Darius Khambata, who was former advocate general in Maharashtra and
  2. Thomas Mathew T who was former chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India.

Background

First ever takeover panel was constituted in November 2007. It was a four-member panel under chairmanship of former Bank of Baroda chairman, K Kannan.

Newly-elected Tamil Nadu government has decided to constitute an “Economic advisory council to the chief minister”.

Key Points

  1. Nobel laureate Esther Duflo of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in USA,
  2. Former Reserve Bank of India governor, Raghuram Rajan,
  3. Former chief economic advisor to central government, Dr Arvind Subramanian,
  4. Development economist, Jean Dreze and
  5. Former Union finance secretary Dr S Narayan.

Purpose of the council

On the basis of recommendations of this council, government will revitalise economy in the state and ensure that benefits of economic growth reach all segments of society.

Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC)

PMEAC is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body which have been constituted to provide economic advice to Government, specifically Prime Minister. It serves to highlight key economic issues that country faces such as inflation, microfinance, and industrial output. Council has been constituted several times since independence. Recently, Prime minister Modi revived the council in 2017. Presently, Bibek Debroy is the acting chairman of PMEAC. NITI Aayog serves as the Nodal Agency for PMEAC for administrative, logistic, planning and budgeting purposes.

As per UN report, India received USD 64 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2020. It has emerged the fifth largest recipient of FDI inflows across the world.

World Investment Report 2021

Study on India

According to report, FDI has increased by 27 per cent to USD 64 billion in 2020. FDI was increased up by acquisitions in information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Pandemic has also increased demand of digital infrastructure and services globally. It has led to higher values of greenfield FDI project in ICT industry and has increased by more than 22 per cent.  Report highlights, second wave of COVID-19 India have impacted country’s overall economic activities. India has been ranked 18 among world’s top 20 economies for FDI outflows. Report further highlights, Investments from India will stabilise in 2021, with the support of country’s resumption of free trade agreement (FTA) talks with European Union (EU) and its strong investment in Africa.

Recently, scientists conducted experiments on monoclonal antibody cocktail named REGEN-COV2. Antibody has been found to be life-saving treatment for severely affected Covid-19 patients.

What are Monoclonal Antibodies?

Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies that perform the activity of our immune systems. They are produced by extracting specific antibodies from human blood and then cloning them. They are designed to target a virus or specific part of one the virus. For example, REGEN-COV2 is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that targets SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Monoclonal antibodies bind to specific parts of spike protein and block its ability to infect healthy cells.

Uses of Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are used to treat cancers, Ebola and HIV, besides covid-19. Research, amid the covid-19 pandemic, are optimistic about abilities of monoclonal antibodies in reducing the risk of hospitalisation. Monoclonal antibodies have also shown ability to retain activity against multiple variants of covid-19 virus.

Limitation of Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal therapies have shown results in high-risk groups with mild to moderate Covid-19 infections. However, they are not approved for use in severe Covid-19 cases that require oxygen. Further, emerging variants like Delta Plus have also displayed ability to nullify the use of monoclonal antibodies.

According to US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), India and United States has launched a hydrogen task force under “Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP)” which will boost India’s energy security efforts.

About US-India Hydrogen Task Force

Aim of the task force

US-India Hydrogen Task Force was constituted with the aim of serving as a forum to achieve affordable hydrogen solutions. It seeks to enhance energy security & resilience by boosting up low or zero-carbon hydrogen technologies & deployment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launch mYoga app on the occasion of international day of Yoga and gave the mantra of “Yog se Sahyog Tak”. This app is a great example of fusion of modern technology & ancient science.

About mYoga App

What is the purpose of app?

This app has been launched to provide users with collection of videos and audio practice sessions which can be practiced “in comfort of their own homes, whenever they wish.” App can be used for daily yoga companion for persons aged 12-65 years.

Who developed the app?

mYoga app was developed by “reviewing scientific literature & extensive international expert consultation processes.” It was developed in collaboration between WHO and Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

Tribal Affairs Ministry and NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) have joined hands with the objective of fulfilling vision of ministry to achieve academic excellence in Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs).

Key Points

NISHTHA Programme

First batch under programme

First batch of 120 EMRS teachers and principals were selected from 3 states viz., Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Participants were trained on 18 modules covering aspects like Learning Outcomes, Assessment Practices, Art-Integrated Learning, Gender Equality, POCSO Act, Covid Response of Schools etc.

Union minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, announced to set up “Divyangta Khel Kendras” across the country to work towards interest of Divyangjans in sports and their good performance in Paralympics.

Key Points

Samajik Adhikarita Shivir

This shivir was organised to distribution of aids and assistive devices to ‘Divyangjan’ under ADIP Scheme (Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons) of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was organized by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) in association with ALIMCO & District Administration Jamnagar. Total of 6225 aids and assistive devices worth Rs.3.57 crore will be distributed free of cost to 3805 Divyangjan in state. Assessment camps to identify Divyang beneficiaries was conducted under ADIP scheme by ALIMCO in Jamnagar Parliamentary Constituency.

Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons (ADIP)

This scheme was launched in 1981 with the objective of assisting needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern aids & appliances. Scheme seeks to promote their physical, social & psychological rehabilitation by reducing effects of disabilities & enhance their economic potential.  Under the scheme, assistive devices are provided to divyangjan with the aim of improving their independent functioning.

According to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Chilean assembly is set to draft a new constitution for the country which will replace the one inherited from dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Its first session will be held on July 4.

Key Points

Background

Constitution of 1980 has problems of legitimacy. The constitutional commission was not representative of political spectrum of Chile because its members were handpicked by Pinochet dictatorship. As a result, constitution has been frequently modified (20 times) ever since democracy was reinstated in the country.

About Chile

The country in western South America, occupies long, narrow strip of land between Andes in east and Pacific Ocean in west. It covers an area of 756,096 square kilometres and a population of 17.5 million. It is closest to Antarctica and the southernmost country worldwide. It shares border with Peru, Bolivia Argentina and the Drake Passage. It also controls Pacific islands of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island in Oceania. Its capital and largest city is Santiago while Spanish is the national language. Chile is known as copper country of the world.

India is to host a two-day summit on Green Hydrogen Initiatives. Summit will start on June 22, 2021 involving the BRICS nations.

Key Points

What are different types of Hydrogen?

Hydrogen which is produced from fossil fuels is called grey hydrogen and those generated from fossil fuels with carbon capture & storage options is called blue hydrogen. On the other hand, Green Hydrogen is obtained entirely from renewable power sources.

Advantages of Green Hydrogen

Green hydrogen is Environment friendly because its usage led to zero emissions. It is a clean burning molecule which can decarbonise sectors like iron & steel, chemicals, and transportation. Green Hydrogen will also help in transition towards clean electric mobility and will help in reducing dependency on minerals & rare-earth element-based battery for energy storage.

Union ministry of Environment, forest & Climate Change has notified about constituting a Karnataka Coastal Zone Management Authority. Notification was issued under Environment Protection Act, 1986.

About authority

Functions of authority

Government is working towards linking innovative agricultural technologies with farms to benefit small and marginal farmers in northeast India. It will primarily focus on women under Biotech-KISAN programme.

Highlights

Why this programme was launched for NE region?

Biotech-KISAN programme

Mission Programme Biotech – Krishi Innovation Science Application Network is a scientist-farmer partnership scheme launched in 2017. It was launched for agriculture innovation with the objective of connecting science laboratories with farmers to get innovative solutions and technologies which can be applied at farm level. So far, 146 Biotech-KISAN Hubs have been established across 15 agroclimatic zones & 110 aspirational districts of India.

World is celebrating the 7th International Yoga Day on June 21, 2021, with the motto of achieving “One World, One Health”. This year, day is celebrating under the theme- “Yoga for wellness”. Theme focuses on practising Yoga for physical as well as mental wellbeing.

Key Points

mYoga App

mYoga App will provide yoga training videos in different languages for people worldwide. It will also help in achieving the motto of ‘One World, One Health’.

International Yoga Day

International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on June 21, since 2015. The day was incepted in United Nations General Assembly in 2014. June 21st was suggested because it is the longest day of year in Northern Hemisphere & having a special significance across the world.

Background

Idea of International Yoga Day was conceived and proposed by PM Modi on September 27, 2014 at UN General Assembly. Resolution to adopt June 21 as International Yoga Day was introduced by India’s Ambassador, Ashoke Kumar Mukerji. It received support of 177 nations.