Daily Current Affairs - 29-05-2021

Ministry of Education has launched “YUVA- Prime Minister’s Scheme for Mentoring Young Authors”.


YUVA is an Author Mentorship programme which will train young and budding authors aged below 30 years to in order to promote reading, writing and book culture in India. It will also project India and Indian writings worldwide.

About YUVA

YUVA stands for “Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors”. The scheme is in line with PM’s vision of encouraging young writers to write about India’s freedom struggle. Call on young generation to write about freedom fighters was taken in PM’s Mann ki Baat in January 2021. YUVA is a part of [email protected] Project which seeks to bring perspectives of young generation of writers on themes including Freedom Fighter, Unsung Heroes, Unknown and Forgotten Places etc.

Who will implement the scheme?

Scheme will be implemented by “National Book Trust of India” under Ministry of Education. Books written under this scheme will be published by National Book Trust. Books will be translated into different languages to exchange culture and literature.

Numbers of Authors

Under the YUVA scheme, total of 75 authors will be selected by an All-India Contest. Winners will be announced on August 15, 2021. Young winning authors will be trained by eminent authors to prepare manuscripts. Published books will be launched on in January 2022 on the occasion of National Youth Day.

According to Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, government has decided to discontinue Central Allocation of Remdesivir to States and directed National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Agency to monitor availability of Remdesivir in India.


Minister highlights, production of Remdesivir has increased ten times from 33,000 vials per day in April 2021 to 3,50,000 vials per day in May. According to him, Government has also increased number of plants producing Remdesivir from to 60 from 20 within a month. Thus, India has enough Remdesivir because supply is more than demand. Apart from that, 50 lakh vials of Remdesivir will be procured by central government to maintain it as strategic stock for emergency requirement.


Remdesivir, an antiviral medication, sold under brand name Veklury. It was developed by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to administer it via injection. It was authorized for emergency use to treat COVID-19 across 50 countries. However, World Health Organization made a conditional recommendation in November 2020 for use of remdesivir to treat covid-19.


Remdesivir was developed to treat hepatitis C. Subsequently, it was investigated for Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus infections and coronavirus.

Side effects of Remdesivir

Common side effect in healthy volunteers includes, raised blood levels of liver enzymes, liver inflammation, Low blood pressure, infusion-related reaction with nausea, and sweating.

The second BRICS Sherpas’ and Sous Sherpas’ meeting was conducted to discuss preparations for scheduled meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers on 1st June.


The BRICS Sherpas’ and Sous Sherpas meeting was convened under India’s Chair-ship from 25th to 28th of May. During the meeting BRICS partners negotiated key deliverables for India’s char-ship at BRICS 2021. They also negotiated including outcome documents for Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

What are Sherpas’?

Sherpa is personal representative of head of state or government, preparing an international summit like G7 and G20 summits. Sherpa usually refers to “Sherpas for G7 summit” but this designation can be extended to different regular conferences which requires participation of head of state. For instance, BRICS Sherpas’ denotes representatives of BRICS Nation. Sherpa is generally quite influential even though they do not have authority to make a final decision over any agreement.

Why is it called Sherpas?

Name Sherpas is derived from “Sherpa people” who are Nepalese ethnic group. They serve as guides and porters across Himalayas. Thus, designating grouping as Sherpa refers to the fact that, Sherpa clears way for head of state at major summit.

First BRICS Sherpa

First BRICS Sherpa meeting was held in 2019 under Presidency of Brazil in Curitiba, Brazil.

External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting in Washington on May 28, 2021.


Both of them held a productive discussion on various aspects of bilateral cooperation and regional & global issues. They discussed Indo Pacific and Quad, Myanmar matter, Afghanistan matter and UNSC matters. Meeting also focused on “Indo-US vaccine partnership”.

Indo-US Vaccine Partnership

The partnership aims to expand access and ensure supply of the vaccines. Following the meeting, Government of United States redirected orders of critical vaccine manufacturing supplies. This now allow India to make over 20 million additional doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

India- US cooperation on Covid-19

USA had also announced to send 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to other nations, from June 2021, fighting pandemic. US government also provided over USD 500 million as relief supplies to India to strengthen its fight against pandemic.

AstraZeneca plc

The British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company has developed the Oxford-Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccine. It is headquartered at Cambridge Biomedical Campus in Cambridge, England. Its portfolio includes products for major diseases in fields of oncology, cardiovascular, infection, gastrointestinal, neuroscience and respiratory.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is organising “Steadfast Defender 21 war games” military exercises in Europe as tensions with Russia increases.


In the war names, NATO troops, warships and dozens of aircrafts are taking part.  Military exercises are taking place across Atlantic, through Europe and into Black Sea region.

Steadfast Defender 21

This war games are being organised with the aim of simulating response of 30-nation military organisation for attack on any one of its members. It seeks to test ability of NATO to deploy troops from America.

Why this war games were launched?

These war games were launched in the aftermath of Russia’s decision to send thousands of troops across border area with Ukraine. It has raised concern at military alliance that launched biggest ever defense spending initiatives after Russian troops acquired Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine in 2014.

Do these military exercises aim at Russia?

According to NATO, military exercises do not aim at Russia specifically. But focus on Black Sea region, where Russia blocks free navigation of ships.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

It is an intergovernmental military alliance of 30 European and North American countries. NATO implements North Atlantic Treaty which was signed in 1949. NATO comprises a system of collective defence in which independent member states provides for mutual defence if any member is attacked by external party. Organisation is headquartered in Belgium.

Apex body of broadcasters, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has extended its purview to cover digital streaming platforms. Also, it will be renamed as Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF).

Significance of the move

Extended coverage will bring broadcasters and OTT (over-the-top) platforms, under one roof. Decision was taken in the view of substantial jump in their viewership base during covid-19 pandemic.

How platforms will be regulated?

To regulate them, IBDF is considering to form a new wholly-owned subsidiary which will handle all matters of digital media. A self-regulatory body called ‘Digital Medic Content Regulatory Council (DMCTC)’ will also be established for digital OTT platforms.

Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF)

IBF is a unified representative body of television broadcasters, established in 1999. About 250 Indian television channels are associated with it.  IBF act as spokesman of India Broadcasting Industry. It is the parent organisation of Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), established in up 2011, to examines content-related complaints. IBF will now be renamed as “Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation” to bring digital OTT platforms under its purview.

Defence Secretary, Dr Ajay Kumar, launched the “DG NCC Mobile Training App 2.0” to provide basis information and training material to NCC Cadet.

About DG NCC Mobile Training App

App will assist in conducting online training to NCC cadets amid COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to provide basic information related to NCC and entire training material including, Syllabus, Training Videos etc on single platform. Cadets can attend online training and appear in certificate exams through this app which in turn help to prevent their academic year. App was developed in line with ‘Digital India’ vision.

National Cadet Corps

It is the youth wing of Indian Armed Forces, headquartered in New Delhi. School and college students can join on voluntary basis. It is a Tri-Services Organization comprising of Army, Navy and Air Wing. NCC groom the youth of country into disciplined and patriotic citizens.

Who recruits the cadets?

Cadets are recruited by “soldier youth foundation” from high schools, higher secondary, colleges and universities of India. They are given basic military training in small arms and drill. Officers and cadets have no liability for active military service after the course is completed.

Why NCC was created?

NCC was created by the Act of 1950. It was established on the line of ‘University Corps’ created under Indian Defence Act 1917, to fill the shortage in Army.

India extends its support to renewed global calls for comprehensive investigation into origins of Covid-19 by World Health Organisation.


India extended support after US President asked US intelligence agencies to find how coronavirus emerged in China. Demands were raised by countries including US and Australia to investigate whether coronavirus originated in Wuhan City of China in late 2019 from an animal source or from laboratory accident in December 2019. Earlier, In March 2021, WHO reported on origins of virus but US and other countries were not satisfied with it.

WHO’s Stand

According to WHO, global study on origin of Covid-19 is an important first step. Now, next phase studies will help in generating further data and studies to reach robust conclusions.

Controversy surrounding origin of coronavirus

A study on origin of SARS-CoV-2 conducted in 2020 by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, concluded that coronavirus may have originated in a laboratory in China. However, Z Division report concluded, both lab-origin theory and zoonotic theory were possible.

Lab leak theory of coronavirus

Wuhan Institute of Virology has come to spotlight when a media report in US claimed, three researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital care in November 2019 some weeks before China disclosed covid-19 cases in Wuhan.

China’s Stand

China denied the report stating, there were zero Covid-19 infections at the institute.

Central Government has invited Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to apply for citizenship in India under the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.


Several migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan have been residing in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Chhattisgarh. In this regard, Union Home Ministry has issued notification to implement order under Citizenship Act 1955.

What is Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

The act, passed on December 11, 2019, amended “Citizenship Act, 1955”. It provided ways for persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan belonging to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians; to get Indian Citizenship. This is the first law which used religion as criteria for citizenship in India. It has also relaxed “residence requirement” for naturalization for these migrants to 6 years from 12.

Who can apply for citizenship?

Persecuted minorities from three countries who have arrived in India before 31st December 2014. According to data from Intelligence Bureau records, there will be some 30000 immediate beneficiaries.

Why Muslims are not included?

The act does not allow Muslims, belonging to three countries, to take citizenship because, all of them are Muslim-majority countries.

Why this law is being criticized?

It is being criticized for being discriminatory on the ground of religion, for excluding Muslims. Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also called it “fundamentally discriminatory”.  There is also a concern that act will be used along with National Register of Citizens (NRC) which will render Muslims stateless. Further, Government has neglected that, certain Muslim groups like Hazaras, have historically been persecuted there.

Government’s Stand

Indian government is of the view, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have Islam as their state religion, therefore it is unlikely that Muslims will “face religious persecution” in those countries.

US administration led by Biden, does not seek to re-join Open Skies Treaty with Russia.


What is Open Skies Treaty?

The Open Skies Treaty was signed by United States on March 24, 1992. It came into effect in 2002. The Treaty allows both member countries to fly surveillance aircraft over military facilities. The treaty was signed to promote transparency among member countries.

Members of Open Skies Treaty

34 member states had participated in treaty.

When did Russia and US withdrew from treaty?

Former President of US, Donald Trump, announced its withdrawal in November 2020 while, Russia announced to withdraw in January 2021.


Proposal for aerial surveillance was first proposed by Former US President Dwight Eisenhower in July 1995. However, Russia then rejected proposal on ground of spying. In 1989, the proposal was again introduced by former President US, George Bush, following a conference between NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and Warsaw Pact countries. Finally, in 1992, treaty was signed and came into force in 2002.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have called United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a permanent commission; who can report on human rights violations across Israel, Gaza and West Bank; following the latest violence in Israel-Palestine Conflict.

What is Permanent Commission?

The proposed Permanent Commission is an independent, international commission of inquiry. It will be appointed by president of UNHRC. Commission will investigate violations of humanitarian and human rights law in Israel and Palestine. Commission will authorize “commission of inquiry (COI)” which is the highest level of scrutiny. Proposed commission can also investigate all underlying causes of tensions and instability in the region often.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OCI)

OCI, comprising of 57 states, is second-largest intergovernmental organization after United Nations. It acts as “collective voice of Muslim countries”. It is involved in protection of interests of Muslims in order to promote international peace and harmony across world. It was established in 1969 following a summit in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco. It is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Is India member of OIC?

India is not a member of OIC. But recently, India was invited as a guest of honor to attend 46th Session of Council of Foreign Ministers in 2019.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR)

UNHCR is an inter-governmental body of United Nations (UN), comprising 47 member states of UN, involved in strengthening promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. It was established by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2006, replacing United Nations Commission on Human Rights. It is headquartered in Geneva Switzerland. In 2019, India was elected to Council for a period of three years.

Recently, people of Bangalore observed a bright rainbow ring around sun for a few seconds. This is a rare optical and atmospheric phenomenon known as Kaleidoscopic Effect which is also known as “22-degree circular halo”.

What is 22-degree circular Halo?

22-degree circular halo is observed around sun and occasionally around Moon. So, it is also called a moon ring or winter halo. This phenomenon occurs when rays from sun or moon get refracted through hexagonal ice crystals present in cirrus clouds.

Why is it called 22-degree circular halo?

Because, halo or ring forming around sun or moon has an apparent radius of 22 degrees.

Which cloud produce Circular Halos?

Circular halos are produced by cirrus clouds.

Cirrus Clouds

These clouds are thin, detached, hair-like clouds formed in atmosphere, at a height of 20,000 feet.

What is halo?

It is the brightest part, present at inner edge of circular disk, where there is no light inside the disk because, no light is refracted through smaller angles.

How halo can be visualized?

Halo is visible when it is viewed from 90-degree angle, just like a rainbow. It sometimes appears just white but often with colors of the spectrum.

Union Government has decided to support some public sector companies with grants under the Mission COVID Suraksha to boost covid-19 vaccine production.

Key Points

Among the companies, one is Hyderabad based Indian Immunological limited (IIL), a facility under PSU named “National Dairy Development Board”. IIL and Bharat Biotech have signed a technical agreement for IIL to supply drug substance to Bharat Biotech, required to produce COVAXIN Vaccine.
Mission COVID Suraksha

Mission COVID Suraksha was launched under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 and is targeted effort which enable development of indigenous, affordable and accessible vaccines in India. Mission focuses on preclinical development through clinical trials and manufacturing & regulatory facilitation to consolidate all available and funded resources to accelerate development of product

How it was funded?

Phase-I of COVID Suraksha Mission was allotted rs 900 Crore for 12 months. Grant was provided by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to conduct Research and Development on Indian Covid-19 vaccines.

Who led the mission?

COVID Mission is led by DBT while a “Mission Implementation Unit” at Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) implemented it.

Objectives of mission

  1. To accelerate pre-clinical and clinical development.
  2. To provide license to Covid-19 vaccine candidates which were in clinical stages.
  3. To establish clinical trial sites.
  4. To strengthen existing central laboratories and suitable facilities for animal studies, production facilities etc.
  5. To support development of common harmonized protocols, training and data management systems etc.