Daily Current Affairs - 23-06-2021

India and USA are all set to conduct Passage Naval Exercise in last week of June 2021. Indian naval ships will carry maritime patrol & other aircraft to participate the exercise with US Navy’s Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group during its transit through Indian Ocean Region.

Key Points


Indian Navy conducted Passex exercise with USS Ronald Reagan in October 2020 and later Indian naval ships conducted another Passex with USS Nimitz that was returning from South China Sea through Strait of Malacca where Freedom of Navigation Operations were undertaken. In September 2020, a US Navy P-8A long range maritime patrol aircraft also landed at Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands for refuelling for the first time under bilateral logistics support agreement.

Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG)

CSG is currently on its way to Middle East to help provide support for US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Earlier in June, CSG was in contested waters of South China Sea where it conducted exercises with Singapore Navy.

Aim of India-US Passex exercise

India-US Passex exercise is a two-day exercise which aims to strengthen bilateral relationship and cooperation by demonstrating ability to integrate & coordinate comprehensively in maritime operations.

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata who was the founder of Tata Group, has emerged as the topper of the list of EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of Century.


Who was Jamsetji Tata?

Jamsetji Tata was the founder of Tata Iron and Steel Works Company (TISCO) in Jamshedpur which is now known as Tata Steel. His endowments started as early as 1892 and he was popular for his ventures within cotton and pig iron industry. Though Jamsetji Tata died in 1904, Tata Steel operates across 26 countries and employs about 80,500 people.  Jamsetji Tata is regarded as the “Father of Indian Industry”. He was so influential across the world of industry that Jawaharlal Nehru referred him as “One-Man Planning Commission”.

Tata Group

It is an Indian public multinational conglomerate that manufacture automobiles, airplanes and other products. It is headquartered in Mumbai and was founded in 1868.

Union Cabinet has approved merger of Central Railside Warehouse Company (CRWC) and its holding enterprise Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) in order to unify similar functions of both the companies. Companies were merged with the aim of improving efficiency and increase financial savings.

Significance of merger

Central Railside Warehouse Company Limited (CRWC)

CRWC is a Public Sector Enterprise of Mini-Ratna status of Category-II. It was incorporated on in 2007 under the Companies Act, 1956.

India’s largest energy integrated company, NTPC Ltd, anchored two-day BRICS Green Hydrogen Summit.


Significance of BRICS in bringing green hydrogen

Five BRICS countries have a common vision of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. Strategic areas of importance for grouping include- strengthening energy cooperation & ensuring affordable, reliable, accessible and secured energy for all. BRICS countries are capable of ensuring a net-zero carbon emission because the cost of deployment of emerging technologies in BRICS countries is a fraction as compared to developed countries.

Why focus is on green hydrogen?

BRICS countries are focusing on green hydrogen because it has a great potential to ensure sustainable energy supply, increase level of energy availability and minimize negative impact on environment.

Moody’s Investors Service has reduced India’s growth forecast to 9.6 per cent for 2021 from the earlier forecast of 13.9 per cent. According to it, growth will restrict to 7 % in 2022.


Growth forecast was published in its report called ‘Macroeconomics India: Economic shocks from second COVID wave will not be as severe as last year’s’.

Key Findings of report

Which states have been hardest hit?

10 states in India have been hardest hit by second wave. They account for about 60 per cent of pre-pandemic level of India’s GDP. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are the four states that contributed largest shares among all states in financial year 2019-20.


Indian economy witnessed the growth rate of 7.3 per cent in fiscal 2020-21 during the first wave of COVID against the growth rate of 4 per cent in 2019-20.

10th edition of Reuters Digital News Report 2021 was published on June 23, 2021. Report is published by Reuters Institute for Study of Journalism (RISJ).

Key findings of report

Who were the respondents?

ACJ and RISJ interviewed only online news users and English-speaking affluent, younger, educated and city-dwelling population. They account for small portion of Indians and cannot be considered as representing India.

Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, e-launched Agricultural Diversification Scheme-2021 which will benefit vanbandhu- farmers in tribal areas. It seeks to make agriculture sustainable and profitable in tribal areas.

About the scheme

What state government has done to provide water?

State government has also undertaken works to deliver irrigation water at high altitudes through several lift irrigation schemes in hilly areas of tribal districts. These schemes would enable tribal farmers to cultivate on their own.

Tribal districts in Gujarat

Scheduled areas or Tribal areas of Gujarat are distributed across Tapi district, Bharuch district, Dangs district & taluka, Valsad district, Panchmahal district, Vadodara district, Saurashtra region, Sabarkantha district and Surat District. As per census 2011, population of Gujarat was 60,439,692 out of which 8,917,174 persons are Scheduled Tribes (STs). They constitute about 14.75 percent of total population of Gujarat.

Suicide worldwide in 2019 report was published by World Health Organization (WHO).

Key findings of report

Suicides in India

As per the WHO report, India has highest suicide rate in Southeast Asian region. National Crime Records Bureau shows that, about 1,34,516 cases of suicide were reported in 2018. Rate of suicide was 9.9 in 2017 which increased to 10.2 in 2018.

World Olympic Day is observed on June 23 across the world to embrace all through pure Olympic values.

Key points

Olympic Day

Olympic Day is observed on the basis of three pillars:

  1. Move
  2. Learn
  3. Detect

History of the day

World Olympic Day was introduced in 1948. It was started to commemorate the birth of modern Olympic Games on June 23, 1894. Modern Olympic Games was born at Sorbonne in Paris. Modern-day Olympic games are inspired by ancient Olympic Games which were held in Olympia, Greece between 8th century BC and 4th century AD.

Goal of the day

Olympic Day is celebrated to promote participation in sport across the world irrespective of gender, age, or athletic ability.

Modern Olympic Games

Olympic Games are leading international sporting events that features summer and winter sports competitions wherein thousands of athletes from world participate in several competition. These Games are considered world’s foremost sports competition in which about 200 nations participate. Games are normally held in Summer and Winter, every two years in four-year period.

Delhi government has launched “Mukhyamantri COVID-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojana” to provide financial assistance to the families who lost a member due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Why scheme was launched?

What are the conditions to get ex-gratia?


Announcement to bring such scheme was announced by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 18, 2021. He also promised free education and financial assistance to children who lost one or both parents.

Sports Minister of Mizoram, Robert Romawia Royte, has announced a cash incentive of Rs 1 lakh for having more children.


Why this declaration was made?

Minister made this declaration as infertility rate has increased and growth rate has decreased among Mizo population which has become a serious concern. Mizoram is far below optimum number of people to attain development across several fields because of gradual decline in its population.

Population density in Mizoram

About 52 persons live in area of per square kilometre in Mizoram. It has the second lowest population density in India, next to Arunachal Pradesh. National average is 382 per sq km.

Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila is soon going to apply Central Drugs Regulator (DGCI) for emergency approval of the corona vaccine ZyCoV-D. If approved, it will be the world’s first DNA-based vaccine. With this, the number of vaccines available in the country will increase to 4. So far, Serum Institute’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik-V are being used in India.

Single Dose or Double Dose

All three vaccines currently being administered in India are double dose vaccines. At the same time, there are single-dose vaccines also such as Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik Lite, which may come to India in the coming months. But the Zykov-D vaccine is different from all these. Not one or two but three doses of this Indian vaccine will be applied. During Phase-1 and Phase-2 trials, this vaccine keeps immunity strong for a long time after applying three doses. However, Cadila is also testing two doses of it. Results related to this can also come soon.

Method of Applying Vaccine

ZyCoV-D is a needle free vaccine. It will be fitted with a jet injector. Jet injectors are widely used in USA and some other countries. This allows the vaccine to be injected into people’s skin under high pressure. At the same time, the needle injections that are usually used, fluid or medicine goes into the muscles. Compressed gas or springs are used for pressure in jet injectors.

This device was invented in 1960. WHO gave permission for its use in 2013. Jet injectors have been in widespread use in the US since 2014. Along with this, it is also used in some countries of Europe, Africa and Asia.

Benefits of vaccine with a jet injector

Firstly, it reduces the pain to the person who is getting it, because it does not go inside your muscle like a normal injection.Secondly, the risk of spreading the infection is much less than the needle injection. Companies like Farmjet, Spirit International, Valeritus Holdings, Injex, Enteris Pharma manufacture jet injectors.

Vaccine Application Status

Cadila may apply to DGCI for emergency approval of ZyCoV-D this week. The data analysis of Phase 3 of the vaccine trial is almost ready. The company has informed the government about this. Apart from adults, this vaccine is also being tested on children aged 12 to 18 years. This vaccine is also being tested on people who already have serious diseases.  Zydus Cadila is talking about producing 24 crore doses in a year. The preparation of the company is such that it will come in the market just a few days after getting the approval. The company will produce 2 crore vaccines every month. Along with this, talks are also going on with other manufacturers to increase production. The company will make about one crore doses in the first month. After this the production will be doubled from next month.

Information on Three doses of ZyCoV-D

The second dose of ZyCoV-D will be administered 28 days after the first dose. At the same time, the third dose will be taken 56 days after the first dose. That is, there will be a difference of 4 weeks in each dose. More than 28000 people have been enrolled for the third phase trial of ZyCoV-D. This includes children between the ages of 12 and 18. Cadila has conducted Phase III trials at 20 centers across the country. At each centre, 20-20 children in the age group of 12 to 18 years were also part of the trial. It has been said by the centers involved in the trial that no side effects have been seen on the children of the vaccine. It is expected that soon the country will get the first vaccine for children. It is being said that the company may soon trial the vaccine on children aged 5 to 12 years. If the results of the trial are encouraging, then the scope of vaccination can be expanded further.

How does this vaccine work?

ZyCoV-D is a DNA-plasmid vaccine. This vaccine uses genetic material to increase the immunity of the body. Just as Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines in many countries including the US use mRNA to increase immunity, in the same way it uses plasmid-DNA. mRNA can also be called messenger RNA, which goes into the body and gives the message to make antibodies against the corona virus. Whereas, plasmid is a small DNA molecule present in human cells. This DNA is different from the common chromosome DNA. Plasmid-DNA is commonly found in bacterial cells and can replicate independently.  The plasmid-DNA is converted into a viral protein when it enters the human body. This develops a strong immune response to the virus in the body. This stops the virus from growing. If a virus changes its shape, that is, it has a mutation, then this vaccine can be changed in a few weeks. It is easier to maintain than other vaccines. It can be stored at 2 to 8 degree temperature. Even at 25 degree room temperature, it does not spoil. Because of this, there is no need of cold chain for its maintenance. Even for the new variant of the corona, it can be easily modified compared to the other vaccines.

Union Government is working on a ‘Green Tariff Policy’ with the objective of reinforcing India’s green energy credentials.

Green Tariff Policy

Open access

Open access allows large users of energy, consuming over 1 megawatt of power, to buy energy from open market, instead of depending on expensive grid. However, state DISCOMs are not allowing clean energy developers to use power transmission and distribution networks to supply electricity to third-party.


Green tariff policy is being finalised in the backdrop of India’s solar and wind power tariffs hitting a low of ₹1.99 per unit and ₹2.43 per unit respectively.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in agriculture & allied sectors was signed between Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and Fiji’s Minister of Agriculture, Waterways & Environment, Dr. Mahendra Reddy.

Key Points

Cooperation between countries

Food and agriculture are closely associated to climate change. Both countries are cooperating to deal with global challenges in agriculture. Amid the covid-19 pandemic, India have distributed about 7 tonnes of seeds of 14 varieties of fruits and vegetables to Fiji as a grant for livelihood restoration of communities who were affected by Cyclone Yasa.

About MoU

MoU between both the countries provides for cooperation in fields of Dairy Industry Development, Root crop diversification, Rice Industry Development, Water Resources Management, Food Processing Industry Development, Coconut Industry Development, Agriculture Mechanization, Animal Husbandry, Agricultural Research, Horticulture Industry Development, Pest & Disease, Cultivation, Value Addition & Marketing, Post-Harvest & Milling, Breeding & Agronomy. MoU will be executed by Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, India and Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji.  A Joint Working Group will also be established to set down procedures. MoU will be valid for five years.

Rubber Board has started field trial of world’s first GM (genetically modified) rubber in the state of Assam.

Key Points


GM Rubber is the second genetically modified crop for which field trial has started after Bt. Cotton. Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had allowed to open field trials of GM rubber in 2010 at Chetchackal, Thombikandom, in Kottayam.

Significance of GM Rubber

GM variant rubber has the capacity to withstand adverse climatic conditions. It will give a big boost to rubber production in India. It will greatly benefit farmers after trials are over. The crop is resistant to reduced moisture or drought, low & high temperatures as well as high light intensity. It will also cut short the maturity period of rubber. It will result into early yielding.

Issue with the growth of rubber

Growth of young rubber gets slower in winter season in North East because plants do not get enough light during monsoon. Lack of adequate water during summer season also creates stress to plants. Thus, GM rubber can overcome these issues and result into faster growth.

As per recent study in Punjab, adoption of BT cotton in Punjab has resulted in net economic and environmental benefits.

About BT Cotton

BT cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically modified pest resistant plant cotton variety. It produces an insecticide to combat bollworm. BT toxins are insecticidal to larvae of moths, butterflies, cotton bollworms, beetles and flies. Commercial cultivation of BT cotton (Bacillus thuringiensis cotton) began in 2002 after Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) approved it. Its cultivation was started in 2002 in western and southern parts of the country. it was introduced by joint venture between Monsanto and Mahyco. India grew the largest GM cotton crop in 2011 at 10.6 million hectares.

BT cotton in Punjab

BT cotton was released for cultivation in Punjab in 2005. Even before it was released, 72% farmers were growing BT Cotton on 22% of cotton area.

Study: Success of BT in Punjab

Research conducted the study funded by Agricultural Extension Division of Indian Council of Agricultural Research under extramural project “Impact evaluation of integrated pest management technologies”. Study found that, since the commercialization of BT cotton,

  1. Insecticide use by volume & applications, environmental & human health impact associated with insecticide use and use of highly hazardous & riskiest insecticides has reduced over time.
  2. Expenses associated with insecticide use has also reduced.
  3. Cotton yields in the past 13 years have been stable, except in 2015.