Daily Current Affairs - 11-05-2021

The Five Deeps Expedition has provided data on the deepest points of five oceans in the world. They are the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and the Southern Oceans.

What did “Five Deeps Expedition” find?

Though some of the above findings were already made, the expedition confirmed them, found new lives, corrected erratic data and also updated some.

Mariana Trench

Though Mariana Trench, the deepest point on the earth, located in the Western Pacific has been surveyed several times, the Five Deeps Expedition removed several uncertainties. According to the expedition, there is surprising amount of life in Mariana Trench.

About the Expedition

It is the brainchild of Explorer Victor Vescovo. He has completed the “Explorers Grand Slam”.
The Five Deeps Expedition was organised by a company called Caladan Oceanic LLC. It was founded by Victor himself. The company aims to support expeditions that increase ocean understanding.

Significance of Five Deeps Expedition

Such projects are important as 80% of world oceans are still unexplored. And countries are aggressively competing with each other to take hold of unexplored resources. China is one amongst them who is aggressively exploring South China Sea defying International Sea laws.

In 2019, Victor became the first person to reach the bottom of all oceans and top of all world continents.

What is Explorer’s Grand Slam?

It requires the climbing of highest peaks in all seven continents and also skiing at least 100 kilometres in both north pole and south pole.

Way forward

The data collected from the expedition is to be handed over to the “Seabed 2030 Project” of Nippon Foundation-GEBCO. The project is compiling data from various sources to create a complete Ocean Depth map by the end of the decade.

The International Energy Agency recently released the “2021 Renewable Energy Market Update”. The Agency has increased its forecast for the global growth of solar energy and wind energy by 25%.

Key findings of the Report

Predictions of the report

Report on China

The report says that the renewable energy in China is to grow by 45%. It is to grow from 150 GW to 230 GW. However, this new forecast is lower than that predicted in 2020.

Report on USA

The forecasts for renewable energy in the US was increased by 20%. However, this did not include Biden’s new emission targets.

Report on India

The solar auction volumes in India increased. However, the ongoing COVID-19 surge in the country has created a short-term uncertainty.

Record Breaking renewable energy levels in India and China

India and China have made record-breaking competitive auctions. On an average, the countries secured 55 GW of new renewable power. The average price of wind energy was 60 USD per Mega Watt Hour and that of solar energy was 47 USD per Mega Watt Hour.

On an average, the corporate companies in India and China have signed “Power Purchase Agreements” for 25 GW in 2020. This is 25% increase as compared to that of the previous year.

The World Health Organisation recently announced that the high and upper middle-income countries have received 83% of world vaccines. These countries represent 53% of world population.

Variant of Concern

Along with the above announcement, the World Health Organisation has also said that the COVID variant B.1.617, the double mutant Corona Virus variant is being classified as “Variant of Concern” at a Global level. This is the fourth variant to be designated as “Variant of Global Concern”. The other three were the UK variant or the Kent variant (B.1.1.7), Brazil variant (P.1) and the South Africa variant (B.1.351)

Recently, the UK scientists declared the COVID-19 strains found in India as “Variant of Concern”.

COVID-19 mutations

The viruses make copies of themselves to survive and spread. They tend to change while making copies. These changes are insignificant. Some may even harm virus. However, there are certain changes that may increase the infectivity of the diseases.

The more a virus spreads, the more are its chances to mutate. Some mutations lead to new variants.

What is so bad about mutants declared as “Variant of Concern”?

All the four mutants of COVID-19 that were declared as “Variant of Concern” by the World Health Organisation have undergone changes in their spike protein. That is, they have undergone changes in that part that attaches to human cells. This increases their infection. Also, it means that they can spread more rapidly paving way for more mutants to arise.

The Health Minister of Goa recently recommended the use of “Ivermectin” to all people above the age of eighteen years. However, the World Health Organisation has warned against its use now.

What did the Goa Government say?

The Government of Goa recently cleared a new COVID-19 Treatment Protocol. Under the protocol, the Government had recommended the use of “Ivermectin” drug. It was prescribed to prevent viral fever that accompanies COVID-19 infection.

The Government also announced that the Ivermectin drug will be available in all health centres in the state. Also, it was recommended that it shall be taken by all the residents irrespective of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not.

What is WHO saying?

A peer-reviewed research claims that continuous use of Ivermectin ends COVID-19. Also, it reduces the risk of contracting the deadly respiratory disease if used regularly. The review was done by three senior scientists working for the US Government.

To this, the World Health Organisation Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said that WHO recommends against the use of Ivermectin.

What is the issue?

Apart from WHO, the German health care has also warned against the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment. These organisations are warning against the drug as there is no sufficient data or meaningful evidences for its clinical efficacy in patients.

The Goa Government also said that there has been large significant statistical proof for reduction in mortality in COVID patients treated with the drug. This has created the controversy.


The Government of India had recommended that the drugs that have been approved or recommended by USFDA and European Medical Agency shall be used in India. In April 2021, USFDA recommended against the use of Ivermectin in treating COVID patients.

This order of using drugs approved by key agencies was passed on April 13, 2021.

A former minister and an old-time communist leader K R Gouri Amma passed away in Thiruvananthapuram.

About Gouri Amma

She was born on July 14, 1919 in Alappuzha district. She studied law. Later she became a member of Communist Party of India. She played a leading role in fighting for the rights of unprivileged sections and labourers.

Gouri Amma fought against the Travancore Divan Ramaswamy Aiyar in Punnapra Vayalar struggle.

She was subjected to physical torturing by police for a number of times.


In 1948, she contested against Thiru-Kochi from Thuravur constituency. Unfortunately, she lost the elections. However, she won in the elections held in 1952 and 1954.

In 1957, when the first election to Kerala Assembly was conducted, Gouri Amma successfully contested and became the first revenue minister of the state.

She had contested 17 elections in her life. And had won 13 of them.

She held ministerial posts in six governments.

She played a major role in several reformative legislations passed. It includes the Lands reforms act. The act was enacted against the expulsion of landless from government land.

Communist party split

When the communist party split, Gouri Amma stood with the reformists. On the other hand, her husband chose not to leave the CPI.

Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi

In 1994, Gouri Amma was ousted from the CPM due the difference of opinion in leadership. She thus formed her own party called the Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi. She then aligned with the Congress led United Democratic Front and became a minister.

In 2016, due to difference of opinion in leadership, she left UDF.

The NASA Spacecraft called the “Osiris-Rex” has started a two year long journey back to the earth. The spacecraft reached asteroid Bennu in 2018. It then spent two years flying around it and collected rubbles. Rubbles are rough fragments of brick, stones.

About the OSIRIS-Rex

Why Bennu?

Was Bennu the first Mission to land on an Asteroid?

Japan had sent Hayabusa and the European Space Agency had sent Rosetta Mission. Thus, Bennu was not the first mission to land on an asteroid.

Hayabusa Mission

It was launched in 2014 to collect samples from Ryugu. It reached Ryugu in 2018. It spent 18 months there and returned to the earth in December 2020.

Rosetta Mission

The annual population of China has slowed during the decade. This has put the demographic dividend of the country at risk.

Outcomes of the Census

Working Age Population

The working age population in China has decreased from 70.14% to 63.35%.  The concern of declining working population in the country has been raised by several experts. In April 2021, the Central Bank of China released a report on Demographics. It said that the demographic dividend in China is fading. And on the other hand, the demographic dividend of India is increasing. This wider force will help India grow at faster rate.


According to the United Nations, India will overtake China to become the most populous country in the world by 2025.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare has recently approved Rs 2,250 crores for the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture for the year 2021-22.

About the Mission

Achievements of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture

Challenges of the Mission

High gaps and losses in post-harvest management. Also, there are very little Supply Chain Infrastructure.

Horticulture in India

The Assam State Disaster Management Agency and the UNICEF has jointly developed an Online Flood Reporting System. With this, Assam becomes the first state to adopt digital reporting system to find out impact indicators during floods.

About the System

System Deliveries


In Assam, it is mandatory to report about daily flood levels between May 15 and October 15 every year.

Assam floods

How are floods controlled in Assam?

The state builds embankments to control the floods. However, these embankments are breached by the floods every year.

In April 2021, a container ship called “Ever Given” blocked the Suez Canal. This stopped more than 400 ships from transiting the canal. This caused a global trade loss of 9 billion USD. It was popularly called the Suez Canal Blockade.


The Ever Given Cargo ship was owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha. It was built by Imabari Ship Building. Both were Japanese companies. They are still locked in negotiations with the Egyptian Government.

The Blockade highlighted the vulnerabilities of Suez route for the Japanese.

Thus, Japan is moving towards the potential alternatives.

Alternatives to Suez Canal

Trans Siberian Railway

It is a network of Railways connecting western Russia to the Russian far east. It starts from Moscow and ends at Vladivostok. Vladivostok is close to North Korea-Russia border.

The Ministry of Earth Science recently announced that India participated in the Arctic Science Ministerial meeting. The Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan represented India at the meeting.


Theme: Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic

Arctic Science Ministerial

Svalbard Treaty


NISER is NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite mission. It aims to conduct global measurements of land surface changes using radar imaging. It is an ongoing project.

India’s Arctic Policy

The recently released draft Arctic Policy document outlines five pillars of India’s policy. They are as follows:

The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) operating under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently recommended for grant of “Terms of Reference for Environmental Impact Assessment” studies. Earlier the committee had raised serious concerns against the project.

What is the meaning of Terms of Reference for Environmental Impact Assessment?

It is a document produced by the authority that is conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment. It is the most important document as it sets the guidelines for the study. It provides the following details:

Thus, the Terms of Reference document is highly important to make sure that the study is carried out effectively to ward off the environmental damages.

Now a three months of baseline studies will be conducted.

What is the issue?

In January 2021, the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife allowed the construction of the port in Galathea Bay and the Expert Committee of Environment Ministry approved “Zero Extent” Ecologically Sensitive Zone. This was done to allow the use of the land. Concerns were raised in allowing development in a fragile area.

What is “Zero Extent” Ecologically Sensitive Zone?

The ESZ acts as shock absorbers of protected areas. The extent of Eco Sensitive Zones range from 0 to 10 kilometres. When the extent ranges to 0 km then it is called Zero Extent Ecologically Sensitive Zone. In simple words, the ESZ does not exist in that place.

Why was Zero Extent ESZ tag approved? – Justification

In this scenario, it is impossible to allocate land for developmental activities. Minimum sustainable development is required in the region.

What is the Great Nicobar Plan?

What are the concerns raised by the EAC?

According to the committee, several information were missing. The missing information were as follows:

Impact on Giant Leatherback Turtles

Conservation Status of Leatherback Turtles

According to IUCN, there is no sufficient data about the turtle population in the region.

Galathea Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Concerns raised by conservationists

Shompen policy of 2015

Every year, India celebrates National Technology Day on May 11. This year, the National Technology Day is being celebrated under the theme:

Why is National Technology Day celebrated in India?

The National Technology Day is celebrated in India for two reasons namely:

What is Pokhran Nuclear Tests?

The Pokhran Nuclear tests were a series of nuclear bomb test explosions that were held in the Pokhran Test Range of Indian Army. This was the second nuclear test conducted by India. The first one was called Smiling Buddha and was conducted in 1974.

The five nuclear tests conducted were as follows:

These testes were held under the code named Operation Shakti. The tests resulted in several sanctions against India from all over the world including Japan and USA.

The tests made India the sixth country in the world to join Nuclear Club of nations.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

It was under the initiative of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the tests were conducted. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam played a major role as a Chief Scientist conducting these tests.

The first National Technology Day was celebrated in 1999. Vajpayee announced that May 11 will be celebrated as National Technology Day.