Daily Current Affairs - 26-06-2021

Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, launched a e-filing portal of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) called ‘itat e-dwar’ on June 25, 2021.

Highlights

About itat e-dwar’

Itat e-dwar is a larger narrative of transformation that India is undergoing through digital medium. It will enable innovation & empowerment and open new avenues for growth.  This e-filing portal will enhance accessibility, accountability and transparency in working of ITAT.  It will result into economization of use of paper, savings in costs and rationalization of fixation of cases which in turn help in quicker disposal of cases.  It would help parties to file their Appeals, Miscellaneous Applications, documents, etc electronically.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired an extended range version of “Pinaka” rocket. Test fire was carried at Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha on June 25.

Highlights

About Enhanced Pinaka Rocket System

The enhanced range version of Pinaka Rocket System has been developed by Pune based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL). They got manufacturing support from Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur. Enhanced Systems can destroy targets kept at distances up to 45 kilometres. These systems were developed to achieve longer range performance.

About Pinaka

It is an indigenous multi-barrel rocket launch system. It was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for Indian Army. Its weapon system comprises of state-of-the-art guidance kit which is bolstered by advanced navigation and control system. Navigation system of this missile is aided by Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). Initial version of weapon system was called Mark I, which had the range of 40 km. This range was increased up to 70 to 80 kms in upgraded missile called Pinaka Mark II.

Smart City Awards 2020 was announced under the ‘Smart Cities Mission’ on June 25.

Which state is the winner?

Background

These awards were announced to mark six years of three urban transformative missions by Central government namely, Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban.

Theme for awards

These awards were given under the themes of Social Aspects, Governance, Urban Environment, Sanitation, Culture, Economy, Water, Built Environment and Urban Mobility. Some other interesting themes were added this year namely, Sustainable Business model of ICCC and Innovation award specially in COVID Management.

Category Wise winner

Under this theme, Tirupati won award for Health Benchmark for Municipal Schools while Bhubaneswar won for Socially Smart Bhubaneswar. Tumakuru won award for Digital Library Solution. In governance category, Vadodara received the first rank. In urban environment category, joint winners are Bhopal and Chennai. Smart Cities Leadership Award was conferred on Ahmedabad, Varanasi and Ranchi.

International Day of Seafarer is observed every year on June 25. This day is marked to appreciate the efforts of seafarer in boosting global economics and commerce.

Significance of Seafarer

Seafarers play an important role in boosting global economics and commerce. Several industries rely on sea routes and ships to transport their good to get the business. Therefore, seafarers are extremely imperative in facilitating these things.

Background

This day was first celebrated in 2011 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The day was designated by organization which is a United Nations agency focussed on shipping. It was designated by a resolution adopted by “Conference of Parties to International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)”. This conference was held in 1978 in Philippines.

Significance of the day

This day is significant for economy and commerce. On this day, governments of different countries and shipping corporations etc are invited to celebrate and promote awareness regarding the day. On the occasion, awareness is raised about the role that sailors play in facilitating business and boosting commerce worldwide. IMO also discusses rights of the sailor at foreign posts. Private shipping companies are also asked to provide sailor adequate facilities.

Theme of day for 2021

This year, international day of seafarers was observed under the theme- “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”.

An international group of archaeologists have discovered new human species in Israel which is being considered as a missing piece in the history of human evolution.

Key Points

What was discovered?

Lady of Tabun

As per researchers, fossils like famous Lady of Tabun, found at other Israeli sites might be part of this newly excavated human population. “Lady of Tabun” was discovered in 1932 by pioneering archaeologist Yusra.

Traces of fire

Bones of animals caught, butchered, and eaten on-site were also excavated. It indicates Nesher Ramla Homo hunted species like gazelle, tortoise, aurochs, boar and ostrich. Also, they were using fire to cook their meals. It is evident through excavation of a campfire feature of same age as the fossils.

Serbia market has opened its market for Indian potatoes, onions, pomegranate, and pomegranate arils.

Key Points

What is Phytosanitary certificate?

It is an important official declaration which is required for export and import of plants and plant material. This certificate shows that, consignment is free from pests & diseases. This certification is provided to prevent spread of pests & diseases to countries importing the consignment. It also prevents introduction of new pests and diseases.

How this certification is provided?

Each country has their own requirements for this certificate. Certification is done under the guidelines given by National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) or authorities equivalent to it.  Parameters of this certificate are in accordance with the guidelines issued by World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement. It is an important component of final Act of General Agreement of Tariff and Trade GATT 1994.

Minister of State for Education, Shri Sanjay Dhotre, launched a Rapid Antigen Test kit for COVID-19. It was developed by IIT Delhi.

Rapid Antigen Test kit (RAT Kit)

RAT kit has been developed by IIT Delhi researchers led by Dr. Harpal Singh. He is a professor at Centre for Biomedical Engineering of IIT Delhi. kit has been developed entirely using internal resources at IIT Delhi. It has been named as SENSIT Rapid COVID-19 Ag Testing Kit. It exhibits 86% Sensitivity & 100% Specificity.

Salient features of RAT kit

Japan is all set to provide India a $10 million assistance for building cold chain facilities to safely store covid-19 vaccines.

Key Points

Japan and COVAX Facility

To contain covid-19, common challenges that countries are facing include- ensuring equitable access to vaccines and accelerating vaccination. To do away this challenge Japan has led operationalization of COVAX facility as an international mechanism to procure vaccines.

USA’s contribution in India’s covid fight

US announced to donate more than 70 million doses of vaccines, from a stockpile, to countries including India where cases of covid-19 had seen a surge. However, it is not yet clear which vaccines India will get from US which has stockpiled doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Why cold chain facilities are required for vaccine?

Vaccines are required to continuously stored in a limited temperature range; from the time they are manufactured until the vaccination. It is because too high or too low temperatures can cause the vaccine to lose its potency, which cannot be regained or restored. Among the available covid-19 vaccines, stringent storage conditions are required for Pfizer & Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine while, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine requires temperatures of -20°C at which it can remain stable for up to six months

Kerala’s Fisheries Department has constituted a seven-member committee to study and submit report on methods to resolve issues related to safety at sea.

About the committee

Why committee was constituted?

Kerala’s Fisheries department decided to constitute the committee as long-term solution because of increasing instances of fishing-related accidents at sea, especially during monsoons; problems related to coastal security and illegal & unregulated fishing.

Who are the members of committee?

Committee comprises of Superintendent of Police (Marine Enforcement); Joint executive director of Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ADAK); Joint director & assistant directors (projects) of Fisheries Department and Registrar of Kerala University of Fisheries & Ocean Studies (KUFOS).

What are the concerns?

Currently, only fishing boats owned by entrepreneurs have been equipped with electronic safety aids. As a result, fishermen going astray across the ocean are pulled away by strong currents. They end up landing in neighbouring coastal countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Further, porous coastline poses a threat on national security. So, an effective vessel monitoring and surveillance system in Kerala is need of the hour to resolve these issues.

As per the latest data from Bank for International Settlements (BIS), incremental credit growth has decreased to 59-year low at 5.56% in Financial Year 2021.

Key points

Bank Credit Growth

As per analysts, bank credit growth is the key indicator of economic growth. Credit-GDP ratio of 100% is the ideal, indicating robust demand for credit without fear of bubble in making. High credit-to-GDP ratio indicates aggressive & active participation of banking sector in real economy. Lower credit-to-GDP ratio indicates the need for more formal credit.

BRICS member

Credit-GDP ratio for other four BRICS members is as follows- Brazil-50.8%, Russia-88.12%, China-161.75% and South Africa-40.1%.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to prescribe guidelines on distribution of dividend by NBFCs in order to induce a greater transparency and uniformity in practice.

Highlights

How can NBFCs comply with guidelines?

According to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) named ‘INS Vikrant’ (meaning courageous) will be commissioned in 2022.

Key Points

About INS Vikrant

INS Vikrant is also called as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1). This aircraft carrier is being constructed by Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, Kerala for Indian Navy. It will be the first aircraft carrier to be built in India. Motto of the IAC is Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah. It is taken from Rigveda 1.8.3.

Background

Work on Vikrant’s design started in 1999. Its foundation was laid in February 2009. It was floated out of its dry dock in December 2011 and was launched in August 2013. Basin trials of the ships were completed in December 2020. It will undergo sea trials by end of 2022 and is expected to enter into service by end of 2022.

Project Seabird

Defence minister conducted aerial survey of several ongoing projects which are being carried out at INS Kadamba under Navy’s “Project Seabird”. He received on-site briefings, capability demonstration at shiplift tower and undertook a tour of naval harbour.

National Convention on Prevention of Maternal, Adolescent and Childhood Obesity was convened by NITI Aayog.

Highlights

Obesity in India

A survey by Indian Council of Indian Research and National Institute of Nutrition highlights that, adults in urban India consume more fat than those in rural areas. According to ‘What India Eats’ Survey, adults in urban centres of India consumed 51.6 grammes fat per day per head on an average. This volume was 36 grammes in rural areas. 84 percent of the rural received their energy requirement for per day from total fats or oils or added fats. Southern India reported lowest per capita consumption of added fat or oils with 22.9-gram intake per day.

Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) organised an online event on June 25, 2021 to commemorate 6 years of launch of three Urban Missions namely Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban.

Key points

How successful these missions are?

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U)

PMAY-U, under the aegis of ‘Housing for All’, cater to urban housing shortage among EWS/LIG and MIG categories including slum dwellers and seeks to provide them a ‘pucca’ house by 2022. About 1.12 crore houses have been sanctioned under it out of which 82.5 lakh houses have been grounded and 48 lakh have been completed.

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

AMRUT mission was launched to tackle the issues of Water Supply, Storm Water Drainage to reduce flooding, Sewerage and septage management, Non-motorized Urban Transport and creating green space or parks across 500 cities with population of more than 1 lakh.

Smart Cities Mission

It is a transformational Mission launched with the aim of bringing a paradigm shift in practice of urban development. Projects developed under it are multi-sectoral and mirror aspirations of local population. 69 Smart cities have developed and operationalised their Integrated Command & Control Centres (ICCCs) as of now. These operational ICCCs functioned as war-rooms for COVID management.

Denmark has signed the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement (ISA FA) and Instrument of Ratification with India.

Key Points

Denmark has become the first country to ratify International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement (ISA FA) after amendments in the ISA FA entered into force on January 8, 2021.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

ISA is an alliance of 121 countries. It was initiated by India.  Most of member countries are sunshine countries located completely or partly between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. It is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization. ISA is the largest grouping of states, after United Nations.

Objective of ISA

ISA was established with the objective of working for efficient consumption of solar energy in a bid to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Background

ISA initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium. During his speech, he referred the sunshine countries as Suryaputra.

Who can join ISA?

ISA is primarily an alliance of countries lying between Tropics. However, countries which do not fall within the Tropics can join alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, except the voting rights.

ISA Framework agreement (ISA FA)

ISA FA was opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016. It was joined by 200 countries.