Daily Current Affairs - 04-05-2021

The Democratic Republic of Congo recently declared the end of the twelfth outbreak of Ebola. It had killed six people in the eastern province of North Kivu.

About Ebola Outbreak

Global Health Emergency

The Global Health Emergency is declared when a disease outbreak is risk to other countries. It requires a coordinated international response.

Ebola virus

In 2019, WHO declared Ebola as one of the top ten threats to Global Health in 2019. The other threats were non-communicable diseases, air pollution, climate change, global influenza pandemic, anti-microbial resistance, weak primary health care, vaccine hesitancy, HIV, and fragile and vulnerable settings.

Ebola Vaccines

<

The Ministry of Finance recently cut the IGST on import of oxygen concentrators for personal use to 12%. Earlier it was 28%. IGST is Integrated Goods and Services Tax. The decision was announced by the Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 286

Under the article, no states are allowed to impose tax on the purchase or sale of goods in the following:

Article 269

The following taxes shall be collected by the Central Government by assigning it to the State Government:

Background

As the second wave of COVID-19 in increasing in the country, The Government of India recently allowed import of oxygen concentrators for personal use. This shall be done through E-Commerce portals or gift category. In order to achieve this Oxygen Concentrators were included in gift category.

Legal provisions

The Import of Oxygen Concentrators for personal use was allowed by amending Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20). In 2020, GoI extended the Foreign Trade Policy till 2021.

Recent measures by GoI to increase Oxygen supply in the country

On May 4, 2021, the Union Minister of Petroleum Shri Dharmendra Pradhan flagged off the first supply of used cooking oil-based biodiesel. It was launched under the Expression of Interests Scheme.

Expression of Interest Scheme

What is the plan?

To begin with 7% biodiesel extracted from the Used Cooking Oil is to be doped in diesel.

Why Bio-diesel?

Biodiesel is an alternate to “fossil fuels”. Bio diesel can be produced from animal fats, vegetable oil, waste cooking oil. Also, the main advantage of using bio-diesel is its carbon-neutrality. Also, it is completely non-toxic, biodegradable.

Current Scenario

So far, the Indian Oil has issued 23 Letter Of Interests for Biodiesel plants with total capacity of 22.95 crores of litres.

Currently, India produces 23 million tonnes of edible oil annually. Of this, three million tonnes of oil is discarded after use. This is addressed to as the Used Cooking Oil. India has potential to generate 222 crore litres of Used Cooking Oil. Unfortunately, India lags a structure to collect this waste cooking oil.

Way Forward

The feedstock availability in biodiesel is a challenge. Thus, using Used Cooking Oil will help India achieve its target of 5% Biodiesel blending at the earliest.

The astrophysicists from the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics have discovered the first blow away galaxy using the “Gemini Telescope”. The galaxy has been named as Pox 186.

Puzzles solved by the discovery

The Universe was in an ionised state when it was formed after the Big Bang. In this state, the electrons and protons moved freely and combined to form atoms and the water vapor condensed into clouds.

The scientists have observed that the Universe is back in its ionised state. Till now, the scientists were unable to find out how this happened. The discovery of blow away galaxy has solved this.

About Blow Away Galaxy

Blow Away Galaxy in simple Terms

The star formation is similar to that of blowing a balloon. If the star formation was intense, then there will be a rupture or hole made in the surface of the balloon. This happens to let out some energy. However, in case of Blow Away Galaxy, the star formation was so powerful that the balloon was torn into pieces.

Gemini Telescope

It is an astronomical observatory that consists of two telescopes namely Gemini North and Gemini South. They are located in Hawaii and Chile respectively.

These telescopes are the largest and most advanced optical telescopes available to the astronomers.

The Board of Control of Cricket (BCCI) has suspended the Indian Premiere League (IPL) indefinitely due to COVID-19. The decision came in after Balaji tested positive for COVID-19. Balaji is the bowling coach of CSK.
So far twenty-nine games has been conducted. Also, the T20 World Cup is to be moved from India to UAE. This is mainly because if held in India none of the participants will be comfortable to come to India due to the third wave in the country.

BCCI

It is the governing body for cricket in India. Grant Govan was its first president. The total annual income of BCCI in 2020 was 535 million USD. This includes 345 million USD from IPL, 139 million USD from bilateral cricket with other nations and 405 million USD from India’s share of ICC revenue.

BCCI-Richest Board

In 2021, BCCI became the richest cricket board in the world. The revenue of BCCI increased exponentially after BCCI began the sale of media rights of the Indian team for ODIs, bilateral tests and T20 matches that are played inside the country.

The Star Network paid Rs 43.20 crore per international home match. In 2018-19, there were 22 test matches, Five T20s and ten ODIs. This added up to Rs 950.40 crores.

Another major source of income for the BCCI is the sponsors for the national team.

Revenue system

In 2014, a new contribution-based revenue distribution was adopted. This system was adopted by BCCI along with England and Wales Cricket Board. However, the system was dismantled by ICC (International Cricket Council) which eventually reduced the revenue of BCCI.

A team from the Zoological Survey of India has discovered a new insect eating mammal species. The animal has been named Crocidura Norcondamica.

About Crocidura Norcondamica

It is almost the size of the house mouse. It lives in the forest floor and feed on insects. They help to control the insect population in the dense Narcondam forest.
It belongs to Shrews family. Shrews are not rodents.

Insect Eating Mammal

A new insect eating mammal species has been discovered in India after four years. The last insect eating mammal to be discovered in India was Jenkin’s Andaman shrew. It was discovered in 1978 on South Andaman Island.

The recently found Crocidura Norcondamica has been named after the Norcondam Island of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was found in Norcondam Island.

Till date, around 422 mammal species have been reported in India.

Norcondam Island

It is a small volcanic island located in the northern Andaman sea. It is formed of Andesite. It is 124 kilo metres away from the main body of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The island was classified as a dormant volcano by the Geological Survey of India.

Burma claimed the sovereignty of the island till 1986. It gave up the claim after reaching an agreement with India on delimitation of the maritime boundary. According to the agreement, the countries drew their maritime boundary in the Coco channel, Andaman sea and Bay of Bengal.

The Narcondam hornbill is endemic to the island and is endangered.

The Narcondam Wildlife Sanctuary has been listed on the tentative List of World Heritage sites of UNESCO. The island was notified as Wildlife sanctuary mainly to protect the hornbill.

The English professional snooker player Mark Selby has won the World Championship for the fourth time. This time he won the title defeating Shaun Murphy.

Mark Selby

World Snooker Championship

It is being held since 1927 annually. It is played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association organises the championship.

About Snooker

It is a cue sport. Cue Sport is also called Billiard sports. They are wide variety of games that are played with a cue stick. It played on a table with four pockets or six pockets. It is played using snooker balls and a cue.

The objective of the snooker game is to hit the white cue ball with the cue so that it strikes the other balls and in turn they fall into the pockets. The player who scores more points in the game wins. The balls are of different colours and each colour has different point.

Fouls in Snooker Game

The following are the fouls in snooker game:

The United States recently approved 550 million USD for the Crimson Solar Project. The project will provide electricity to 87,500 homes.

About Crimson Solar Project

Solar Energy in the US

As of 2020, the United States had 97,275 MW of installed concentrated and photovoltaic solar power. This is 1.66% of the total electricity consumed by the country.

Biden’s Plan

The US President Joe Biden signed a 2 million USD of infrastructure proposal to curb the Greenhouse gas emissions in the US. The plan also proposed 100 billion USD to update the electric grid system in the country and make it more resilient to climate disasters.

During the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by the US, the President announced that US will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

California Desert

There are three main deserts in California. They are the Colorado Desert, Mojave Desert and the Great Basin Desert. The Colorado Desert lies in the north west of the Californian Desert. The Great Basin Desert is the only cold desert located in the country.

The Mojave Desert includes San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges. These mountains are outlined by the two largest faults in California called the Garlock Fault and San Andreas Fault.

The Government of India recently issued guidelines for the “Production Linked Scheme” of Food Processing Industry. The GoI had earlier approved the PLI Scheme for Food Processing under the “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” with an outlay of 10,900 crores of rupees. The scheme is to be implemented between 2021-22 and 2026-27.

Categories in the Guidelines

The Guidelines has divided the applicants of the scheme into the following categories:

Category 1: These applicants are large entities who apply for Incentive based on Sales and Investment criteria. These applicants shall undertake branding and marketing activities abroad. They shall also apply for grant.

Category 2: These applicants belong to Small and Medium enterprises. They manufacture innovative products. They apply for the grant under the scheme based on their sales

Category 3: These are applicants who apply for grant to undertake branding and marketing activities abroad.

Guidelines

Selection of applications

The following guidelines have been provided for selecting the applicants:

A trust based in Assam recently made videos using the traditional art called “Putola Nach”. The art form was used to take the messages related to COVID-19 to the public through social media.

Putola Nach

Tholpavakoothu

The Indian Army recently launched the first Green Solar Energy harnessing plant in Sikkim. It was launched to benefit the troops of the Indian army.

About the plant

Other green initiatives of Indian Army

Vanadium

The Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik recently declared working journalists of the State of Odisha as the frontline COVID-19 warriors. This announcement was made under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. With these more than 6,500 journalists are to be benefitted in the state.

Gopandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana

Gopalbandhu Das

Other states

Several other states also declared journalists as frontline workers. This includes Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh.

Significance

The significance of declaring journalists as frontline workers is that they will be vaccinated in Phase I of COVID-19 vaccination programme of India. The beneficiaries of phase I of COVID-19 vaccination programme are health care workers, frontline workers and those in the population greater than fifty years. The current frontline workers are home guards, armed forces, prison staff, municipal workers, civil defence volunteers including disaster management volunteers.

India recently notified Digital Tax threshold of two crore rupees and 300,00 users under the Significant Economic Presence principle. This threshold was notified for non-resident technology firms such as Netflix, Facebook, Google, to pay tax in India. The principle was first introduced in the Finance Bill 2018-19.

What is Significant Economic Presence?

It means that a transaction in goods or services or property carried out by a Non-Resident in India. This includes download of software or data. In June 2019, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called on the G-20 countries to adopt the “Significance Economic Presence”.

Background

The Significant Economic Presence concept was introduced in 2018 under Income Tax Act, 1961. It was basically introduced to tax the income of non-residents. These incomes are those related to goods and services or property in India.

Inception of Significant Economic Presence

In 2015, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued fifteen Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plans (AP). The BEPS-AP 1, that is, the first report of BEPS-AP is about tax challenges in the digital economy. It stated that it is important to examine enterprises that earn profit in the digital economy.

Apart from Significant Economic Presence, the BEPS-AP also analysed several other challenges. This includes Equalisation Levy that was implemented in 2016 in India.

What is Equalisation Levy?

It was introduced to tax business to business transactions that happen digitally. This mainly targeted at taxing the income accruing to foreign E-Commerce companies from India. Accruing is someone receiving money at increasing rate over time.

The Government of India and British Government recently finalised a one billion pound of trade and investment with India. This is expected to create 6,500 jobs in the UK. The deal has been finalised ahead of the virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The leaders will sign the deal formally during the summit. The summit is to be held on May 4, 2021.

About the new investment deal

The trade between India and UK is 23 billion Great British Pounds a year. This is supporting more than half a million jobs a year.

Trade and Investment package of UK

The British Government recently unveiled 533 million Great Britain Pounds of Indian investment into the United Kingdom. This covers areas such as technology and health care. It also includes the 240 million Great Britain Pounds of investment to be made by the Serum Institute of India in the UK. The Serum Institute is to further expand its business to 1 billion USD in Britain.

Way Forward

India and UK will sign a trade deal in the future that will remove current tariffs on whiskey up to 150% and on automotive up to 125% in India.

The scientists have recently created lightest form of Uranium. It is called the Uranium-214. The discovery reveals more information about an alpha particle. The alpha particle are those particles that gets ejected from radioactive elements as they decay.

About Uranium-214

This isotope of Uranium has a greater number of neutrons than protons. The neutrons have mass. However, Uranium-214 found recently is much lighter than the other common Uranium isotopes. This includes Uranium-235 as well. Uranium-235 is the most commonly used isotope. It has 51 extra neutrons.

Uranium-214 was created at the Heavy Ion Research Facility in Lanzhou, China.

It had a half-life of just half a milli-second. The half life of a radioactive sample is the time taken for half of the radioactive sample to decay. The half life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years. This is the almost equal to the age of the earth.

Alpha Decay in Uranium-214

The new isotope found also showed unique behaviours during its decay. This new finding will help scientists understand radioactive process called Alpha decay.

In alpha decay, the atomic nucleus loses two protons and two neutrons. They are collectively called alpha particle. Scientists are yet to find the answers on how these alpha particles are ejected.

How was Uranium-214 created?

A beam of Argon was projected on Tungsten inside Gas-filled recoil separator. The researchers then added protons and neutrons to the material through a LASER beam to create Uranium-214.

Nuclear force in Uranium-214

The scientists found that protons and neutrons of Uranium-214 interacted much more strongly than in isotopes with similar number of neutrons and protons. In other words, nuclear force in Uranium-214 was greater than the nuclear force in other isotopes.