Daily Current Affairs - 31-05-2021

Curiosity Rover, developed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has captured images of “shining clouds” on Mars. This will help the scientists know more about MARS (or the Red Planet).

Highlights

Curiosity

Curiosity is a car-sized Mars rover, developed to explore Gale crater on Mars, is a part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. This rover was launched from Cape Canaveral (CCAFS) in November 2011 and it landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale crater on Mars in August 2012.

Purpose of Curiosity

Curiosity rover was launched into Mars’s crater to study the climate and geology of the red plant. It is also doing assessment on whether selected field site inside Gale crater has ever supported environmental conditions and favourable conditions for microbial life. Its primary task is to investigate role of water and conduct habitability studies.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured beautiful photo of spiral galaxy called “NGC 691”.

What is NGC 691?

It is an unbarred spiral galaxy located about 125 million light-years away in Aries constellation. It was discovered by German-born British astronomer William Herschel in November, 1786. Spiral galaxy is the foremost member of NGC 691 group which is the collection of nine galaxies with different shapes and colours. It is referred as “LEDA 6793, UGC 1305 and TC 448”. The Spiral galaxy has a diameter of 130,000 light-years.

Features of Galaxy

Galaxy comprises of multiple ring structure. Out of them, three rings are recognized in infrared light.

New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (NGC)

NGC is an astronomical catalogue comprising of deep-sky objects. It was compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888. NGC comprises of 7,840 objects, such as star clusters, galaxies, emission & absorption nebulae.

Hubble Space Telescope

This space telescope was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. It still in operation. It is the largest and most versatile telescope which is renowned as vital research tool as well as public relations boon for astronomy. It has been named after astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Lancet report along with China’s health research institutions and international colleagues from US, UK and Australia have reported on country’s progress with respect to maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health and nutrition since 1949.

Highlights

How Population Policy has contributed?

China population policy as well its earlier “one-child policy” has affected its age structure. However, its focus has increased on health of children and young people, which reflects a need to invest in next generation. This scenario was being followed even in Australia.

Key Findings

What were the elements of China’s Success?

Elements such as quality antenatal and postnatal care, higher childhood vaccination and good health education in schools have contributed in China’s success.

Concerns

As per the report, China has neglected several conditions such as infertility, advanced maternal age, child protection, stillbirth, mental health, sexual and gender-based violence. It also neglected emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19.

World No Tobacco Day is being observed on May 31, 2021 under the theme “Commit to Quit”.  It is observed since 1987 after member states of  World Health Organisation created “World No Tobacco Day”  to bring global attention towards  tobacco epidemic and associated preventable death.

Why this day is significant?

Top Smoking countries

10 countries with largest number of tobacco smokers as of 2019 are- China, India, Indonesia, USA, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, and Philippines.

What are the concerns?

According to World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 70 percent of 1.3 billion tobacco users across the world lack access to tools required for quitting Tobacco. This access gap has further exacerbated in 2020 because health workforce are being mobilized to handle covid-19 pandemic’.

Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, launched solar-based electrification programme for rural households of state, on the occasion of Goa statehood Day (May 30).

About Solar-Based Electrification Programme

This programme will bring electricity using renewable energy to rural areas in Goa where grid connectivity is not feasible. It was launched with focus on delivering clean, reliable and affordable energy to all.  Solar PV-based home lighting systems was inaugurated two days after agreement was signed between Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) and Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA).

How this project is different?

Electrification project is first off-grid electricity engagement by CESL which will install and maintain the solar PV systems for five years under Remote Village Electrification (RVE) programme. CESL will undertake programme across villages and hamlets in coordination with Gram panchayats.

About CESL

CESL is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of EESL. It is a new energy company which focuses on delivering clean, affordable, and reliable energy. It focuses on energy solutions which can be generated with the confluence of renewable energy, electric mobility, and climate change.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)

EESL, world’s largest public energy service company (ESCO), is owned 100 percent by of Government of India. It is a joint venture of state-owned NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation and POWERGRID. It was established under Ministry of Power to facilitate energy efficiency projects.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, launched a PM-CARES for Children scheme for children orphaned due to COVID-19. As per data, about 577 children have lost their parents till date.

Highlights

Measures under the scheme include free education, creation of Rs 10 lakh corpus for each child- to be given to them at the age of 23. Prime Minister emphasized, children represent future of the country and India will do everything to support and protect them.

About PM-CARES for Children scheme

  1. Children who lost either parents or surviving parents or legal guardians or adoptive parents due to COVID-19 disease, will be supported through PM-CARES fund.
  2. Under the PM-CARES scheme, contribution will be made through PM CARES Fund till they attain age of 18 years. Contribution will help in creating a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for them
  3. They will be given a monthly stipend for five years starting from 18 years till 23 years to fulfil their personal requirements.
  4. After they will attain 23 years of age, they will be given full amount of Rs 10 lakh to use it professionally or personally.
  5. Scheme will ensure free education for such kids by giving them admissions in nearest Kendriya Vidyalayas or private schools fees for which will be given from PM CARES fund.
  6. Provisions are there for educating kids between 11 to 18 years in residential schools like Sainik Schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas.
  7. All expenditure concerned with child’s education such as expenditure on notebooks, textbooks and uniform will be made through PM CARES Fund.
  8. Students going for higher education will be given education loans for which PM CARES will pay interest and scholarships.
  9. They will also be enrolled under Ayushman Bharat Scheme to provide them health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh till 18 years. Premium will be made by PM CARES Fund

Amid the country’s battle against covid-19 pandemic and increasing cases of mucormycosis, Doctors in Ghaziabad, Mumbai and Gujarat have reported cases of new disease called ‘aspergillosis’.

What is Aspergillosis?

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection, fungal growth or allergic reaction caused due to Aspergillus fungus. The fungus is found indoors as well as outdoors. It lives on decaying vegetation or dead leaves. This fungal infection is not as deadly as black fungus but it can turn fatal too.

How people contract to this infection?

People can come in contact with the fungus by breathing in microscopic “aspergillus spores” from environment. Though people come in contact with the fungus daily but never contracts illness. Because, aspergillosis infects people suffering from lung disease or weak immune system. It causes infections in organs and other allergic reactions.

Types of Aspergillosis

There are 5 types of aspergillosis namely, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, aspergilloma (fungus ball), allergic Aspergillus sinusitis, chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and invasive aspergillosis. But, COVID-19 patients are being diagnosed with rare sinus pulmonary aspergillosis.

What are the symptoms of pulmonary aspergillosis?

Weight loss, cough, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, and fatigue are some of its symptom.

According to space official of China, a three-man crew of astronauts will be sent for three-month mission on new space station of China in June 2021.

Highlights

Plans for station’s first crew were confirmed to state after an automated spacecraft was launched with fuel and supplies for Tianhe station.

What is Tianhe station?

Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony is third and largest space station launched by China. Core module of the station was launched on April 29, 2021 into the orbit highlighting increasingly ambitious space program of China.

How crew will be sent to space station?

Shenzhou 12 capsule will carry the crew. Capsule will be launched from Jiuquan base in northwest China.

Why they will be sent?

Space Crew will be sent to station to practice spacewalks and conduct repairs, maintenance and conduct scientific operations.

Tianzhou-2 spacecraft

This spacecraft was lift-off from China carrying 6.8 tons of cargo such as space suits, food and equipment for astronauts and fuel for station.

China’s manned missions

In 2003, China had sent 11 astronauts which included two women, into space beginning. First female astronaut was Liu Yang in 2012.

About Tianzhou

It is a Chinese automated cargo spacecraft which was developed by China’s first space station Tiangong-1. It is used to resupply modular space station. Spacecraft was launched on Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang in 2017. This was the first version of spacecraft and has a mass of 12,910 kg.

Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has launched four new helpline numbers to help people amid the second wave of covid-19. To promote these numbers advisory was issued to private television channels to government in spreading awareness regarding covid-19 pandemic.

What are those numbers?

Apart from that, a community support helpline number 14443 was operationalised by Ministry of AYUSH to provide approaches and solutions for challenges raised by COVID-19. 1075 covid helpline number is now open for rural India to book vaccination slots. 1075 covid helpline number is now open for rural India to book vaccination slots. This information was given by National Health Authority (NHA), headed by RS Sharma.

 

Government has increased the scope of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for three more months overviewing the disruptions caused by second wave of COVID 19 pandemic. Extension will help businesses across several sectors of economy.

About ECLGS 4.0

Significance

Modifications in ECLGS will enhance utility and impact of ECLGS by providing additional support to MSMEs. It will safeguard livelihoods and help in resumption of business activity. It will facilitate flow of institutional credit at reasonable terms.

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

ECLGS was launched under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package in May 2020. It was launched to overcome the distress caused on economy due to lockdown. It helped different sectors by providing credit to them. Credit is provided to them for four years besides one year moratorium period on principled repayment.

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) will launch Nitrogen fertilizer-based Nano Urea in market in June 2021.

Highlights

A 500-ml Nano Urea is equivalent to 45kg of normal urea. 500 ml urea costs around 240 rupees. Apart from that, it will reduce input cost of farmers by 15% and cultivation will increase the yield by about 20%.

What is Nano Urea?

Urea produced from nano-technology to improve the nutrients efficiency of the crops are called as nano urea. Nano urea is produced in two ways:

  1. First, quinhydrone mixed liquor is prepared.
  2. Then, this mixture is spread onto calcium cyanamide granules to form nano urea.

When it was allowed in India?

Commercial use of nano urea was allowed in India in November 2020.

Significance of nano urea

India uses 350 lakhs metric tonnes of urea per year. Use of nano-urea will reduce the consumption by half in turn saving about 600 crore rupees subsidy provided by government. Also, it will reduce India’s dependence on import of urea.

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO)

IFFCO is multi-state cooperative society involved in manufacturing and marketing of fertilisers. It is established in 1967 and headquartered in New Delhi. It comprises of 57 member cooperatives. Thus, it is the biggest co-op in world by turnover on GDP per capita.  It has 19% market share in Urea and 29% market share in complex fertilisers, which makes it largest fertiliser manufacturer of India.

Public sector banks (PSBs) have announced support measures and launch of new loan products to mitigate economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

What are those announcements?

Repayment of Loan

IBA and SBI announced, all the salaried, non-salaried and pensioners individuals can get an unsecured personal loan from ₹ 25,000 to ₹ 5 lakh to look after COVID-19 treatment. Repayment tenure is 5 years. SBI will charge interest of 8.5% per annum and other banks can also decide their interest rate.

Indian Navy has installed a medical ICU (MICU) on Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) at INS Hansa. It will help in boosting its capacity to evacuate critical patients even in unfavourable weather conditions.

Highlights

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) installed on-board ALH Mk-III from INAS 323 at INS Hans. ALH Mk-III is an all-weather aircraft which will help Indian Navy to undertake medical evacuation of critical patients by air even during unfavourable weather conditions. Equipment can be installed in two-three hours to convert aircraft into an air ambulance. HAL will eight such MICU to Indian Navy.

INS Hansa

It is an Indian naval air station in Dabolim in Goa. India’s biggest naval airbase comprise of a civil enclave which operates as Dabolim Airport. It was commissioned in September 1961 in Tamil Nadu.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

HAL, headquartered in Bangalore, is state-owned aerospace and defence company. It was established on December, 23 1940. It is the oldest and largest aerospace and defence manufacturers across the world. It started aircraft manufacturing in 1942 with licensed production of Harlow PC-5, Curtiss P-36 Hawk etc for Royal Indian Air Force. HAL has 11 dedicated Research and development (R&D) centres and 21 manufacturing divisions working under 4 production units in India. Company is managed by a Board of Directors appointed by President of India on the recommendation of Ministry of Defence Government.

National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval, has commissioned Indian Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel Sajag. It was dedicated nation to safeguard maritime interests.

Highlights

Offshore Patrol Vessel, Sajag has been constructed by Goa Shipyard Limited, which was commended by NSA for indigenously developing ships for Maritime Armed forces with state-of-the-art machinery, latest technology sensors and equipment.

Patrol boat

It is a small naval vessel designed for coastal defence, immigration law-enforcement, border protection, search and rescue duties. They can be operated by navy, coast guard, police force or customs and can be commissioned for marine or estuarine or river environments. They are commonly used in border protection roles such as ant-piracy, anti-smuggling, fisheries patrols, and immigration law enforcement.

Classification of Patrol Boat

Patrol Boat are classified as inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) and offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). They are warships of smaller size and include fast attack craft, missile boats and torpedo boats. Offshore patrol vessels are smallest ship in Navy. However, they are large and seaworthy enough to patrol off-shore.

Ministry of Labour and Employment has announced additional benefits for workers under ESIC and EPFO schemes for the dependents of workers passing away due to Covid-19 disease.

Highlights

Additional benefits will help in reducing fear and anxiety of workers about well-being of their family members because of increasing incidences of death.

What was existing norm?

As per current norms, if an Insured Person dies or gets disabled while discharging duties, lifelong pension equal to 90 percent of average daily wage of worker is given to spouse, widowed mother and to children they are 25 years of age. If there is female child, benefit is provided till her marriage. Scheme will be retrospectively be effective from March 24, 2021.

How additional benefits will be provided?

All dependent family members of Insured persons, registered in online portal of ESIC prior before COVID-19 disease and death due to it, will be given same benefits and in same scale as received by dependents of insured persons.

What are the conditions?

Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI)

Under this scheme, all surviving dependent family members of members of this scheme can avail benefits of EDLI in case worker die.