Daily Current Affairs - 13-10-2021

American President, Joe Biden, has proclaimed October 11 as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”. He has become the first U.S. president to formally recognize this day.

Highlights

What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is typically observed on the second Monday of October. This Day recognizes the Indigenous communities who have lived in United States for thousands of years. It grew increasingly common as the replacement for Columbus Day. Columbus Day celebrates the explorer who sailed from Spain with a crew in three ships namely, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, in the year 1492.

Background

Many of U.S. cities and states commemorated the day, before American president proclaimed it. Colleges and corporations have also recognized the day. First state to officially recognise this day was “South Dakota”, that officially recognized the day as Native Americans’ Day in the year 1990. Countries like Oregon, Alaska and Vermont also officially established this day as a holiday. Cities like Berkeley, Seattle, California and Minneapolis were among early adopters.

Indigenous People’s Day in other countries

This day is observed under different names across the world. Canada recognized this day on June 21, 1996 as “National Indigenous Peoples’ Day”.

Former higher education secretary, Amit Khare, was appointed as advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12, 2021.

Key Points

Advisor to PM

Appointment order of the Khare was issued after appointment committee of the cabinet gave its approval. As an advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office, he will enjoy the rank and scale of the secretary to the Union government. He has been appointed on contract basis, for a period of two years initially or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Background

Khare had helped in shaping the new National Education Policy (NEP) while holding the position of higher education secretary. He holds an MBA degree from IIM Ahmedabad. Khare took charge as higher education secretary in December 2019. In between May 2018 to December 2019, he served as information and broadcasting ministry secretary. He also played a major role in issuing the “Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021”. He has also served as the vice-chancellor of Ranchi University and Commissioner of Jharkhand. He holds a BSc (Physics) degree from St Stephens College.

Deputy Commissioner

Khare was also appointed as the deputy commissioner of West Singhbhum (Chaibasa) in between 1995-1997. During that period, he played a significant role in revealing the fodder scam in animal husbandry department in undivided Bihar.

The Subject Expert Committee on Covid-19 has approved the “emergency use” of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine for children aged between 2-18 years old.

Key Points

About Covaxin

Covaxin is codenamed as BBV152. It is an inactivated virus-based COVID-19 vaccine. It was developed by Bharat Biotech in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Vaccine is usually considered effective if the estimate is more than 50% with a more than 30% lower limit of the 95% confidence interval. Bharat Biotech reported the Covaxin is 64 percent effective against asymptomatic cases, 78% effective against symptomatic cases, 93% effective against severe infection while 65% effective against the Delta variant of coronavirus.

How Covaxin was developed?

Covaxin uses a traditional technology which is similar to inactivated polio vaccine. In the initial phase, sample of SARS-CoV-2 was isolated by National Institute of Virology, India. Then this sample was used to grow large quantities of virus using the vero cells. Following this, viruses were soaked in beta-propiolactone, in order to deactivate them by binding to their genes. Resulting inactivated viruses were then mixed with aluminium-based adjuvant Alhydroxiquim-II.

The Delhi government launched its “Desh ke Mentors” programme on October 11, 2021. This programme will be implemented across all the schools in Delhi.

Key Points

Time period of the programme

The “Desh ke Mentors programme” will be available for minimum of two months. It can carry on for additional four months optionally. One mentor will guide two to five students.

Why this programme was launched?

When child enters teenage around 9th standard, child gains some emotional as well as psychological needs. Thus, this mentorship programme was launched for children to get a non-judgemental guiding light and helping hand.

Who can mentor the programme?

Mentors from any part of India can enrol for the programme to guide children. For this purpose, Delhi government has developed an app using which anyone can join the revolution.

Significance of the programme

This programme will help the children in making a better decision, with the help of mentors, without judging and imposing dreams on them. Mentors will provide help, guidance, and ideas while child’s responsibility will be to do hard & smart work and make consistent efforts and talent.

The Henley Passport Index 2021 was released recently in which India’s rank has dropped by six places as compared to 2020 index.

Key Points

How this index ranks the countries?

Henley Passport Index ranks the passports of countries on the basis of number of destinations their holders can visit without getting visa in advance. Rankings are decided by analysing the data provided by ‘International Air Transport Association (IATA)’.

Ranking of the countries

India’s Rank

India was ranked at 84th position in 2020. But in 2021, its position has dropped to 90th position. India’s passport holders are allowed to travel to 58 countries visa-free. India shares this rank with Tajikistan and Burkina Faso.

Who prepares the report?

The Henley Passport Index was prepared by London-based Henley and Partners, which is a global citizenship and residence advisory firm. It covers 199 passports and 227 destinations.

India is set to submit its covid-19 vaccination plan and targets to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Highlights

India’s target

Indian government had earlier highlighted that its entire adult population will be vaccinated by December 2021. On the other hand, WHO has called for countries to meet its targets of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022.

India’s progress in vaccination

India’s progress in achieving the target of vaccinate total population is going on at full pace and manufacturers of covid-19 vaccines in India are meeting the demand. India is working with the strategy for full coverage of all Indians.

WHO’s target

As per WHO’s target, countries were required to vaccinate 10% of the population by September 2021. However, 56 countries (majority in Africa & West Asia) were unable to meet this target. Thus, WHO has called the countries to revise their national vaccination strategies, policies and maximize the impact of existing, modified as well as new vaccines. Vaccinating 70% of the worldwide population requires around 11 billion vaccine doses. But, by the end of September, about 6 billion doses had been administered across the world.

Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change released the “Vision Plan: 2021-2031” for Indian zoos. This plan was released during a two-day National Conference for zoo directors & veterinarians in Gujarat.

Highlights

Mitra awards

At the conference, Mitra awards were also presented under four categories. These four categories are- veterinarian, animal keeper or zoo frontline, outstanding contributions by zoo director or curator and biologist or educationists.

Vision Plan (2021-2031)

Vision plan is a strategy to transform Indian zoos. The 10-year vision plan was released after extensive data mining & consultation with the stakeholders. The plan was adopted with the aim of giving a direction towards ex-situ conservation approaches across India. It also mentions 10 pillars of change for Central Zoo Authority (CZA) & Indian zoos. It sets some specific targets and timelines for achieving the ‘Call to Action’ that will be realized in 10 years. These pillars comprise of strengthening ex situ conservation of endangered native species, management of rescued animals and optimizing animal welfare.

Biodiversity in India

Biodiversity in India must be conserved for the sustainable development. India comprises of only 2.4% of the land area of the world. But accounts for 7-8% of all recorded species. It includes more than 45,000 species of plants and 91000 species of animals.

The Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Rajiv Kumar, launched the “NITI Aayog – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Handbook on Sustainable Urban Plastic Waste Management” on October 12, 2021.

Key Points

Handbook on Sustainable Urban Plastic Waste Management

  1. Technical models for recycling
  2. Material Recovery Facilities (MRF)
  3. Governance for effective plastic waste management
  4. IEC and Digitization.

Aim of the handbook

The models outlined in this handbook aim to bring sustainable plastic waste management into practice. Several systems approach in this report are aligned with ‘Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0’ and ‘Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016 & 2018’.

Supreme Court in a landmark judgement noted that, “National Green Tribunal does have suo moto powers and it can hear environmental issues on its own”.

Key Points

National Green Tribunal (NGT)

NGT was established on October 18, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. It was established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to conservation of forests, environmental protection and conservation of other natural resources besides enforcement of any legal right related to environment. This Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under “Code of Civil Procedure, 1908”. It is guided by principles of natural justice.

National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

It is an Act of the Parliament that lead to the creation of a special tribunal for handling the expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental issues. It was inspired from constitutional provision of Article 21.

Function of the Tribunal

The Tribunal is having a dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters. Thus, it provides speedy environmental justice and help in reducing the burden of higher courts. It is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals within 6 months.

Central Government has given “Maharatna” status to Power Finance Corporation (PFC). PFC has become the 11th state-owned entity in India to enter the Maharatna category.

Key Points

PFC now joins the ranks of other companies like ONGC, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), BHEL and Indian Oil Corporation. PFC is the largest infrastructure company of India.

Significance of the status

  1. To make quality investments,
  2. To form financial joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries
  3. To oversee mergers & acquisitions within India as well as abroad.

Which company gets Maharatna Status?

Maharatna status is accorded to a company that has recorded more than net profit of Rs 5,000 crore for three consecutive years or average annual turnover of Rs 25,000 crore for three years. In order to get the status, company should have the average annual net worth of Rs 15,000 crore for three years. Company should also have global footprints or operations.

About PFC

PFC was incorporated in 1986. It works under the jurisdiction of the Union Power Ministry. It is the financial backbone of Power Sector in India. Its net worth as on 30 September 2018 is Rs 383 billion. According to the Department of Public Enterprises Survey for FY 2017-18, PFC is the 8th highest profit making Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE). It is India’s largest NBFC as well as largest infrastructure finance company.

The World Arthritis Day is observed on October 12, each year in a bid to raise awareness regarding the joint diseases which causes suffering from pain and stiffness.

Key Points

Should Arthritis Patients Exercise?

Many of the Arthritis patients are not very enthusiastic regarding exercising due to acute pain at the joints. But inactive life and no exercise worsen the joint diseases.  But they should do moderate exercises in order to ease the pain and maintain a healthy weight.

Who are prone to this disease?

Although arthritis is usually associated with old age. But even youngsters are prone to the joint diseases. The condition of joint diseases is known as Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) among children. JIA is characterized by a number of disorders like pain in joints, stiffness and swollen joints.

How to diagnose JIA?

JIA can be diagnosed by any physician by considering the family history of arthritis, examining the symptoms, and by conducting a physical examination. In few cases, X-rays are and blood tests for anaemia, inflammation & autoimmune diseases are conducted.

What leads to Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which body’s immune system attacks the joints mistaking them for germs. This leads to inflammation of joints. Causes for this condition is not known yet. However, in some cases, it is said to be genetic.

Iran started a massive, two-day air defence drill in its sprawling central desert, on October 12, 2021.

Highlights

Background

2015 Nuclear Deal

Talks in Vienna to revive tattered Iran’s 2015 accord with world powers have stopped since June, 2021. No date is set for their resumption. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran drastically limited its enrichment of uranium in exchange of lifting economic sanctions. In 2018, Former American President, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew USA from 2015 accord. This raised tensions across Middle East and resulted into a series of attacks and incidents.

Breaching Limits

With the discontinued talks in Tehran, Iran has breached limits set by the nuclear deal. Iran is enriching small amounts of uranium to its levels to weapons-grade purity. Though, Iran claims that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Union Cabinet given its approval for affiliation of one hundred government sector as well as private sector schools with the Sainik School Society.

Key Facts

First phase of affiliation

In the first phase, government has proposed that, 100 affiliate partners will be drawn from States, NGOs and Private partners.

National Education Policy

These schools were affiliated in line with the National Education Policy. Government has also decided to provide an increased focus on value-based education which will enable children to develop pride in rich culture and heritage of India. It will also develop effective leadership among them with discipline, character, sense of national duty & patriotism.

Admission of Children in Sainik schools

Starting from the academic year 2022-2023 around five thousand students will receive admission in class six in 100 such affiliated Schools. Currently, existing 33 Sainik Schools have an admission capacity of about three thousand students in class six.

About Sainik Schools

Sainik Schools are the system of schools across India, which are established and managed by Sainik Schools Society under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). These schools were conceived in the year 1961 by V. K. Krishna Menon.