Daily Current Affairs -20-03-2021

India and France are working on the “Third Joint Satellite Mission” at the time when the bilateral space collaboration between both the country is entering into multiple domains even in the human spaceflight programme.


Several French companies are interested to tap into the opportunities provided by the recent reforms in the space sector by the government. France is also the largest partner of India in Space. ISRO highlighted that, ISRO and French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) have worked on the two joint missions namely the ‘Megha-Tropiques’ which was launched in the year 2011 and the ‘SARAL-Altika’ which was launched in the year 2013.


The officials also highlighted that, the ISRO and CNES have completed the feasibility study in order to realise earth observation satellite mission with the help of thermal infrared imager called “Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High resolution Natural resource Assessment (TRISHNA)”. Now both the agencies are working to finalise an implementing arrangement for the joint development. India is also working with the France on joint experiments & accommodation of the scientific instruments with respect to the space missions. Two agencies have also finalised all the interface control documents to accommodate the ‘ARGOS’ instrument of CNES in the OCEANSAT-3 satellite of ISRO.


ARGOS is a satellite-based system which is involved in the collecting, processing and disseminating the environmental data from a fixed and a mobile platform worldwide. It also helps in the data collection by the satellite. This makes the Argos more useful in geographically locating the data source from any location on the Earth using the Doppler effect. It was established in the year 1978. The ARGOS have provided the data for the environmental research and protection of communities.


The ISRO spacecraft Oceansat-3 is being developed in order to provide the service continuity for the operational users of Ocean Colour Monitor data from Oceansat 2. It also seeks to enhance the application potential in other areas. It is a global mission which has been configured to cover the global oceans and to provide a continuity of ocean colour data. The mission seeks to provide the continuity of ocean colour data along with the improvements to enhance the operational services such as potential fishery zone and the primary productivity.

India has planned to conduct the airborne radar surveys in order to estimate the thickness of Himalayan glaciers. Under the plan, the pilot study will be conducted in the Lahaul – Spiti basin of the Himachal Pradesh. This proposal was initiated by the “National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research (NCPOR)” under the Ministry of Earth Sciences”.


After this pilot project is done, similar studies will also be conducted in the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra sub-basins. This development is significant because of the importance of glaciers in the river systems of India and 500 million lives which the river sustains downstream in Indo-Gangetic plains. They are also significant from with respect to the energy security standpoint. The development is also strategically imperative.

Why this development was done?

This development has come in India because India is one of the most vulnerable country for extreme weather events. It has been ranked at the 20th position on Climate Risk Index (CRI). India also witnessed a human tragedy after several people lost their lives in February 2021 glacier bursts near the Raini village in Uttarakhand.

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)

It is formerly known as “National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR)’”. It is an Indian research and development institution which is located in the Vasco da Gama in Goa. The centre is an autonomous Institution under the Department of Ocean Development (DOD) of Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. The centre is responsible to administer the Indian Antarctic Programme. It also maintains the Antarctic research stations namely the Bharati & Maitri of India. It was established on May 25, 1998.  Dr. Prem Chand Pandey was the founding director of NCPOR.

India and Japan have agreed to recognize the offices of each other in order to act in collaboration as “competent International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA)” for the international patent application which are filed with them.


The agreement was signed during 4th review meeting of “Department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) and Japan Patent Office (JPO)” under memorandum of cooperation on industrial property. First phase of meeting was co-chaired by Guruprasad Mohapatra who is the secretary of DPIIT and Toshihide Kasutani who is the commissioner of JPO. During the meeting, first year of “pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme” was reviewed. The second phase was co-chaired by Ravinder who is the joint secretary of DPIIT and Kasutani.

Agenda of the meeting

During the meeting, the countries reviewed the progress under the Memorandum of Cooperation on the industrial property between India and Japan. They also reviewed the Action Plan between the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) of India and JPO. The also shared and confirmed their views to deepen the cooperative relationship in between both the countries for future cooperation. They recognised the importance of innovations which support the society and essence of the robust Industrial Property system to promote the investment and innovation.  They also acknowledge the importance of strengthening the IP enforcement, raising IP awareness, to enhance the capacity building and to encourage innovation. The countries also agreed to continue their cooperation in the field of industrial design education. They further agreed to commence the function of offices under the PCT from July 1, 2021.

Japan Patent Office (JPO)

JPO is a Japanese governmental agency which is the in charge of industrial property right affairs. It works under Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The office is located in Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda, Tokyo. It is one among world’s largest patent office.  It works with the objective of promoting the growth of Japanese economy and industry. The office administers the laws related to the patents, designs, utility models, and trademarks.

The central government has planned to evaluate the outcome of the Phase 1 of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) for the expansion of the project after spending rupees 118.2 million on the Mission so far. Under this mission, “NDHM Sandbox Environment” has also been established to promote innovation and build trust.


The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) was launched by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on August 15, 2020, following this, the mission was launched in the union territories of Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Ladakh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Puducherry  and Lakshadweep. The Union Health Ministry is looking after the implementation of the mission in the six union territories. The central government has issued some 997095 health IDs under the programme as of March 15, 2021.

Health IDs

The health IDs issued under the mission allows people to track their health and share data with the verified doctors or healthcare providers after the informed consent of the patients. It also provides for the voluntarily opt-out option where the users can delete their data anytime.

NDHM Sandbox Environment

The government has also developed the “NDHM Sandbox Environment” in order to promote innovation, participation and built trust.  The sandbox environment has been developed as the closed ecosystem. This system allows the testing of the technologies or products in the contained environment in accordance with the NDHM standards. The testing helps the public as well as the private organisations, who wants to be the part of NDHM ecosystem, to become the health information provider or health information user.

National Digital Health Mission (NDHM)

NDHM is an agency under Government of India which aims to provide medical identity document to citizens. This identity document will help people to use Ayushman Bharat Yojana. This program also aligns with the programs like Aadhaar identification program and Ayushman Bharat Yojana healthcare program to provide health services to people. this health ID is kept by the users as an account in the mobile app. This mission was announced by the Prime Minister on Independence Day 2020.

The Indian Embassy in Beijing participated in the “Nowruz” which was held at the Secretariat of “Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)” in Beijing, China on March 20, 2021. Nowruz is the Iranian and Persian New Year Festival.


The celebration was participated by the Indian Ambassador Vikram Misri, along with the diplomats of other SCO member countries which include China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India. More than 500 guests took part in the festival. During the celebrations, the Indian embassy showcased the performances of Yoga, Kathak and Indian cuisine. On the occasion, the Indian Ambassador also planted a Pine tree sapling as a symbol of nurturing of the friendship between India and SCO.


It is the Iranian New Year which is also known as Persian New Year. The new year starts on the spring equinox or the March equinox which is marked as the first day of Farvardin. Farvardin is the first month of Iranian solar calendar. The day is celebrated across the world by several ethno-linguistic groups. Nowruz finds its origin in the Iranian and Zoroastrian culture. But the festival is celebrated by the diverse communities for 3,000 years in the Central Asia, Western Asia, Black Sea Basin, Caucasus, Balkans and South Asia.  The Nowruz has been celebrated since 11th century CE when the Iranian calendar was reformed but the United Nations officially recognized “International Day of Nowruz” in the year 2010 with the adoption of UN resolution 64/253. The timing of Nowruz in Iran is based on the Solar Hijri algorithmic calendar. It is based on the precise astronomical observations.

The Jharkhand government has launched the “SAAMAR Campaign” which stands for “Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anaemia Reduction” campaign recently. The campaign was launched to tackle the malnutrition in Jharkhand.


The SAAMAR campaign was started with the aim of identifying the anaemic women and malnourished children. The campaign converges several departments to effectively tackle the problem of malnutrition.

Malnutrition in State

The Economic Survey 2021 states that, A Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey was conducted in the state for the period of March 2017 to July 2017. As per the survey, 36% of the children under five years of age are stunted, 29% are of the children are affected from Wasting, while 45% of the children are underweight. These factors indicate the status of undernutrition in state.

About SAAMAR Campaign

SAAMAR campaign has been launched in the state with a 1000 days target. Under the campaign, annual surveys will be conducted in order to track the progress. The campaign seeks to converge several departments like Rural Development Department, Food & Civil Supplies and engagement with the school management committees & gram sabhas to make them aware of nutritional behaviour. It also focusses on the Primarily Vulnerable Tribal Groups for their nutritional needs. The campaign further encourages the research and proposes fellowships on the nutritional behaviour of these groups in order to effectively implement the schemes.

How this campaign will run?

Under the campaign, all the Anganwadi centres will be engaged in identifying those children who are undernourished so that severe acute malnutrition among children can be tackled.  After the children are identified, they will be treated across the Malnutrition Treatment Centres. In the similar manner, the anaemic women will also be listed and will treated in serious cases. This survey will be done by measuring the Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) of women and children using the MUAC tapes and Edema levels which results into swelling in a small area or entire body.

The International Day of Happiness is being celebrated on March 20, 2021. The day is observed every year across the world to mark the importance of happiness in the lives of people. In the year 2021, the day is being celebrated under the Theme:Happiness for All, Forever” which signifies the importance of happiness.


The day recognises the happiness as a most important need of the human’s life. It is linked to the overall well-being of humans. The day is observed with the aim of establishing the important role that happiness must play while setting the public policy objectives. With the observance of this day, happiness is intrinsically related to the equitable economic growth which in turn lead to the sustainable development and overall well-being for the people.


The International day of Happiness was started being observed by the United Nations in the year 2013. The observance of the day was started following several years of campaigning by the United Nations adviser Jayme Illien who grew up in a Mother Teresa’s orphanages in Kolkata. He get the inspiration to end the global inequality through his years in orphanage and other life experiences. The resolution to observe the day was passed on July 12, 2012. This resolution to mark the day was first initiated by Bhutan. Bhutan had emphasised the importance of “National Happiness” over “National Income” since 1970s. The country had also adopted thereby adopting the “Gross National Happiness” over the “Gross National Product”.

Gross National Happiness (GNH)

It is also called as Gross Domestic Happiness. GNH is a philosophy which guides the government of Bhutan. It comprises of an index that is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of the population. The Gross National Happiness Index is instituted as the goal in the constitution of Bhutan which enacted in July 2008.

The “Labour Bureau”, which is an attached office under the Ministry of Labour & Employment had signed an agreement with the “Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL)”, which is an enterprise under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, have signed a service level agreement in order to provide the technical and manpower support to the Labour Bureau.


This support from BECIL will help in conducting All India Surveys on Migrant Workers as well as the All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES). This agreement marks the beginning of “IT-enabled surveys” in which surveys by Bureau will be integrated with technology provided by BECIL. This will help in reducing the time taken to complete the surveys by 30-40%.

Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL)

It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of Government of India. The PSU provides the broadcast engineering and information technology services across India. It has provided consultancy services to channels like Malayala Manorama and Times TV. It is counted among the client’s media and broadcast companies like Hindustan Times, star TV, Radio Mirchi, and Radio City. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Labour Bureau

It is an attached office under Ministry of Labour and Employment. The office was set up on October 1, 1946. The bureau does the task of compilation, collection, analysis & dissemination of the statistics regarding the different aspects of labour. It has two main wings established in Shimla & Chandigarh as well as four regional offices in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Kanpur. It has also established a sub-regional office at Mumbai. The foundation of the bureau was led the “Royal Commission on Labour” in the year 1931 which had emphasised the need of systematic collection of labour statistics.

The defence ministry has signed deal worth Rupees 1,188 crores with the state-run Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Following the deal, the BDL will supply 4,960 Milan-2T Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) for Indian Army. The defence ministry had signed the deal with BDL in March 2016 for these missiles.

Milan-2T ATGMs

It is a Tandem Warhead ATGM having the range of 1,850 metres. The missiles have been produced by BDL under the license from MBDA Missile Systems of France. The warheads comprise of a forward charge and a rear charge which is separated by the blast shield. The forward charge of the ATGM fires first and disrupts the outer armor of target while the rear charge of the missile fires after a short while. It then penetrates remaining armor of the target. These missiles will be inducted in the Indian Army in three years.

Features of the missile

These missiles can be fired from both the ground and vehicle-based launchers. The missile can also be deployed in the anti-tank role for offensive as well as the defensive tasks.


The move will help in strengthening the Make in India programme of the government.  The induction of these missiles will enhance the operational preparedness of Armed Forces. This project will also showcase the capability of the defence industry.

Defence Industry in India

The government has now been pushing the Indian Private sector to do the job of manufacturing more of the defence hardware in the country under the flagship Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat programmes. This is helping India to reduce its armaments imports & import bills. These initiatives are also transforming India into a defence manufacturing hub. With this objective, two industrial corridors have been set in north India and in south India.

India has launched the “Gram Ujala Scheme” on March 19, 2021 to provide the cheapest LED bulbs in the rural areas. The scheme was launched by the Union power and new and renewable energy minister, Raj Kumar Singh.

About ‘Gram Ujala Scheme’

The Gram Ujala Scheme is an ambitious scheme which offers the world’s cheapest LED bulbs in rural areas. This is the first such scheme in India. It provides the LED Bulbs in these areas at a mere ₹10. This the scheme also furthers its climate change strategy and strengthen the self-reliance credentials. The scheme does not come with the government’s support or subsidy. Under the scheme, the bulbs are offered by the state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd’s subsidiary Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL). The scheme proposes for distributing some 600 million LED at rupees 10 in the rural areas. It will be financed entirely through the carbon credits which will be claimed under the “United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)”. The revenue from the carbon credit will contribute to Rupees 60 per LED. This scheme also proposes to take back the incandescent and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs of the rural consumers. After submitting the bulbs, the consumers will get 7 watt and 12-watt LED bulbs with three years’ warranty.

First Phase of the scheme

In the first phase, the scheme was launched from Arrah district in Bihar. In this phase around 15 million LED bulbs will be distributed in the villages of Arrah (Bihar), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), and western Gujarat.


In the year 2014, the previous Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All (Ujala) scheme had cut the LED bulb prices to Rupees 70 per piece from around Rupees 310.

Significance of the scheme

India is currently the second-largest LED market across the world by value. So, the scheme will help in avoiding the peak electricity demand of 9,428 megawatts.

The Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, took his ride in the ‘Energy Swaraj Yatra’ bus which has been built by the professor of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Dr Chetan Singh Solanki.


The “Energy Swaraj Yatra” bus runs on the solar energy. It comprises of a complete work-cum-residential unit. The professor has been travelling on the bus to raise awareness regarding the use of solar power since the year 2020. This yatra will continue till 2030.  While taking the ride, the education minister highlighted that, this project is in line with the “National Education Policy” which comprises of an “in-built framework for imparting skills” with respect to the use of solar energy in schools and colleges. The minister also stated that, this bus has been designed with the objective of creating a public movement for the adoption of 100 percent solar energy.

About “Energy Swaraj Yatra” Bus

The bus allows the occupant to perform all the daily activities such as bathing, cooking, sleeping, working, meeting and training. This bus has been fitted with the 3.2 kW solar panels. It is having the capacity of 6 kWh of battery storage.

Energy Swaraj Yatra

The concept of “Energy Swaraj Yatra” is based on “Gandhian ideologies” to mitigate the climate change and to ensure the energy sustainability. Climate change has become an emergency which requires public efforts in order to mitigate it. The Energy Swaraj Movement was started to bring about the public awareness and their involvement to solve climate change problem.

Dr Chetan Singh Solanki

Dr Solanki has initiated the “Energy Swaraj Yatra” mission in the year 2020 to raise awareness regarding the adoption of solar energy. He is a professor from IIT Bombay who have pledged to not go home until the year 2030. During 2020-2030 he has pledged to live and travel in the solar bus. He was recently made the Brand Ambassador of Solar Energy of Madhya Pradesh by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

The United Nation Sustainable Development Solutions Network has released its annual report called “World Happiness Report, 2021”. The report was collected and prepared slightly differently amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report measures the subjective well-being by relying on three indicators namely, Life Evaluation, Positive Emotions and Negative Emotions. The report was presented ahead of “World Happiness day” which is observed on March 20.


In order to measure the life evaluations, Gallup World Poll asked people to evaluate their current life using image of a ladder. The best possible life for them was evaluated as 10 while the worst possible life as 0. The report highlights that, “life evaluations” provide the most informative measure to conduct the international comparisons because this indicator captures the quality of life in a complete and stable way.

Positive Emotions

The positive emotions were captured in the report by asking the people whether they smiled or laughed the previous day. The positive response was coded as 1 while the negative response was coded as 0. Following this, average response was calculated for each person in the range of 0 and 1.

Negative Emotions

Lastly, the negative emotions were measured by asking the respondents whether they experienced any specific negative emotions on the same day.

Key Findings

Finland was again titled as the World’s happiest country because the overall rankings remained similar to the index of 2020. The other countries that performed well on the rankings are Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Netherlands. United States was ranked at 19th position. Afghanistan was titled as the ‘Least Happy’ country. India was ranked at 139th position out of 149 countries. India was ranked at 144th position out of 156 countries in the “world happiness report, 2020”.  Ten countries who have been ranked behind India in the year 2021 are Burundi, Yemen, Tanzania, Haiti, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.