Daily Current Affairs - 09-10-2021

After 68 years, Air India is all set to return to the Tata fold. Tata Sons subsidiary Talace Pvt. Ltd. emerged as the winning bidder for the debt-laden national carrier after quoting an enterprise value of ₹18,000 crore. The government will take a hit of ₹28,844 crore.

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The Tatas will own a 100% stake in Air India, as also 100% in its international low-cost arm Air India Express and 50% in the ground handling joint venture, Air India SATS.

Apart from 141 aircraft and access to a network of 173 destinations, including 55 international ones, Tatas will also have the ownership of iconic brands such as Air India, Indian Airlines and the Maharajah.

The Group of Ministers led by Home Minister Amit Shah approved the winning bidder in its meeting on October 4. The government aims to complete the transaction by December 2021, when it will transfer its shares and hand over the airline to the new buyer.

Talace quoted an enterprise value of ₹18,000 crore. Of this, ₹15,300 crore is the debt component of Air India to be taken on by the winner, and the remaining ₹2,700 crore will be cash paid to the government

It will provide a very strong market opportunity to the Tata Group’s presence in the aviation industry. Tata Sons owns 84% share in Air Asia, which has a market share of 5.2%, and 51% stake in Vistara, which has a market share of 8.3%. Together with Air India’s market share of 13.2%, Tatas could be in control of 26.7% market share, and be the second biggest player after IndiGo.

In an age marked by authoritarian regimes around the world, misinformation and hate speech, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to two journalists who have been running independent news organisations in their countries, often under the threat of detention and even death.

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Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia received the Prize “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.

An investigative journalist, Ressa in 2012 co-founded Rappler, a digital media platform for investigative journalism, which she continues to head. Rappler has “focused critical attention” on President Rodrigo Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign.

In the RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index, the Philippines ranked 138 of 180 nations (India was ranked lower, at 142).

Dmitry Muratov “has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions”. During the Vladimir Putin regime, Russia has ranked 150 in the RSF’s 2021 World Freedom Index.

Five years after Muratov left the popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, he along with around 50 colleagues started Novaja Gazeta in 1993, as one of its founders. He has served as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief since 1995.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey proposed to change the name of Corbett National Park to Ramganga National Park.

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Jim Corbett’s name has lent itself to India’s oldest and most celebrated national parks and to the cottage industry that has grown around it.

Corbett’s name lives on in and around the forests of Uttarakhand where the celebrated hunter-naturalist once lived and whose efforts led to the establishment of the national park.

Name history

But the Park was not always called Corbett. Set up in 1936 as India’s — and Asia’s — first national park, it was called Hailey National Park after Sir Macolm Hailey, the governor of the United Province.

It was renamed Ramganga National Park, named after the river that flows through it, shortly after Independence and was rechristened yet again as Corbett National Park in 1956.

It was at the insistence of Corbett’s friend, the great freedom fighter from Kumaon and the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Govind Ballabh Pant, that the park was renamed after him, to honour his conservation efforts.

Geography

Located in the Himalayan foothills near the tourist hill station of Nainital, Corbett National Park is spread over 520 sq km and is part of the Corbett Tiger Reserve which is over 1,288 sq km.

The national park along with the neighbouring 301-sq km-Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary together make the critical tiger habitat of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles inaugurated Samarth training at 75 training centers in different craft throughout the country.

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The Samarth training is providing skill training to the 2,250 artisans as well as extending wage compensation of Rs. 300 per day per trainee at these centres.

All the courses in Samarth training are National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) aligned as per Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship guidelines. The wage compensation to successful trained artisans is paid through DBT mode directly into the account of the artisans.

The Raw material during the training is also provided by the department.

Union Minister of Science & Technology Jitendra Singh said that India will be within the top 5 countries Globally and be recognized as a Global Bio-manufacturing Hub by 2025.

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India’s Bio-Economy is on way to achieve 150-billion-dollar target from the current 70 billion-dollar to contribute effectively to Prime Minister’s vision of a 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2024-25.

He was speaking here after releasing the Genetic Version of Indian rice and chickpea (DNA panArray) developed by National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR).

The two DNA chips for rice and chickpea, IndRA and IndiCA are the first Pan-Genome genotyping arrays in these two crops and will tap the huge potential of Indian plant biodiversity and genomic diversity towards food and nutritional security of the Nation.

The Minister also inaugurated “NIPGR First Translational Facility Network for Speed Breeding and High Throughput (HTP) Field Phenotyping” at the campus of Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr, UP.

Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has released the Framework for Implementation of Market Based Economic Despatch (MBED) – Phase1 for lowering the cost of power purchase to Consumers.

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Implementing an Market Based Economic Despatch (MBED) is an essential next step in reforming electricity market operations and in moving towards “One Nation, One Grid, One Frequency, One Price” framework.

MBED will ensure that the cheapest generating resources across the country are despatched to meet the overall system demand and will thus be a win-win for both the distribution companies and the generators and ultimately result in significant annual savings for the electricity consumers.

The implementation of Phase 1 of MBED is planned to start with effect from 1st April 2022. Before this CERC will align their regulations and mock drill will be carried out to ensure that the system runs smoothly.

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Benjamin List and David W C MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”.

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A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without taking part in the reaction, or without undergoing any changes during the chemical reaction.

Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a catalyst.

The major types of catalysts are metals and enzymes. In 2000, Dr. List and Dr. MacMillan, independent of each other, developed a third type of catalysis named asymmetric organocatalysis.

Organocatalysis finds several applications in pharmaceutical research and other industries. It has helped streamline the production of existing pharmaceuticals, including paroxetine, used to treat anxiety and depression, and oseltamivir, a respiratory infection medication.

Physicians at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have successfully treated a patient with severe depression by recognising and tapping into the brain circuits linked with depressive brain patterns.

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The physicians have tried to reset these patterns, which they have said is the equivalent of using a pacemaker for the heart. The work, which represents a landmark in the use of neuroscience to treat psychiatric disorders, has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

The doctors used an existing technique called deep brain stimulation (DBS), customising it for this patient’s case.

DBS is a surgical procedure in which electrodes are implanted into certain brain areas. These electrodes, or leads, generate electrical impulses that control abnormal brain activity.

The electrical impulses can also adjust for the chemical imbalances within the brain that cause various conditions.

A DBS system has three components

The electrode, or lead. This is a thin, insulated wire inserted through a small opening in the skull and implanted into a specific brain area.

The extension wire. This too is insulated, and is passed under the skin of the head, neck and shoulder, connecting the electrode to the third component of the system.

The internal pulse generator (IPG) is the third component. It is usually implanted under the skin in the upper chest.

Asserting that India’s downside risks from negative feedback between real economy and financial system are receding, ratings agency Moody’s changed India’s sovereign rating outlook from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’, while affirming the country’s foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer ratings at Baa3.

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Last year, Moody’s downgraded India’s sovereign rating from ‘Baa2’ to ‘Baa3’, the lowest investment grade, saying there will be challenges in implementation of policies to mitigate risks of a sustained period of low growth and deteriorating fiscal position.

The outlook on the rating was kept negative.

What is the impact of the upgrade?

Since overseas borrowing costs are tied to a country’s rating and the agencies’ outlook on the nation, an upgrade usually helps in lowering borrowing costs for the government as well as the corporate sector.

With chances of default receding and improvement in overall debt service ability, foreign investors take comfort in subscribing to government and corporate bonds at lower rates.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday kept the key interest rates unchanged and reduced the inflation target for the year 2021-22.

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Interest rates in the banking system are expected to remain steady as the Repo Rate remains unchanged at four per cent, Reverse Repo rate at 3.35 per cent and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 4.25 per cent.

The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as necessary to revive and sustain growth on a durable basis and continue to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

The RBI has slashed the inflation forecast for 2021-22 to 5.3 per cent from 5.7 per cent estimated earlier.

The RBI has retained the projection for real GDP growth at 9.5 per cent in 2021- 22 consisting of 7.9 per cent in Q2 of the current year.