Daily Current Affairs - 16-09-2021

US President Joe Biden administration has announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-pacific. Security partnership was done between Australia, United Kingdom and United States.

Highlights

Features of the partnership

Why this partnership came into picture?

Background

AUKUS partnership is a very rare because U.S. shared this kind of technology on nuclear powered submarines only once to UK, before sharing it with Australia.

The World Bank cut back on the Covid-induced poverty estimates by 21 million on September 15, 2021.

Highlights

Background

World Bank in January 2021 has estimated that Covid-19 will push some 119-124 million people in extreme poverty across the World in 2020. However, it has now revised these numbers on the basis of updates from global poverty data which occurred in March and June 2020.

World Bank

It is an international financial institution, providing loans and grants to the governments in low- and middle-income countries in order to pursue capital projects. It consists of two institutions: International Bank for Reconstruction & Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA). World Bank is a component of World Bank Group.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been named among 100 most influential people of 2021 by the Time Magazine.

Key Points

Time’s profile of Modi

According to Time’s profile of Modi, India has had three pivotal leaders namely Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Modi. Narendra Modi is the third who has been dominating the India’s politics like no one since them.

Time’s profile of Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee has been described as the face of fierceness in Indian politics on the time’s profile. Profile says, “the street-fighter spirit and self-made life in the patriarchal culture sets her apart.

Time’s profile of Poonawalla

According to Time profile of Poonawalla, the 40-year-old head of world’s largest vaccine maker “sought to meet the moment, from the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic.

About Time

It is an American news magazine and news website. It is published and is based in New York City. It was published weekly earlier, but by March 2020 it had switched to bi-weekly. First edition of the magazine was published on March 3, 1923.

SpaceX launched four amateurs on its first ever private flight on September 15, 2021.

Highlights

Who is leading the flight?

Jared Isaacman is leading the flight, who made his fortune with the payment-processing company. Isaacman is the third billionaire to launch so far, following the brief space-skimming flights of Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos in July 2021. Apart from this, Arceneaux is flying who is set to become the youngest American in space as well as the first person with a prosthesis, a titanium rod in her left leg, to travel space.

Space Tourism

This flight is the first entry in the competition for space tourism dollars by SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)

SpaceX is an American aerospace manufacturer, space transportation services & communications company. It is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the objective of reducing space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. SpaceX manufactures Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, rocket engines, crew spacecraft, Dragon cargo, and Starlink communications satellites.

International Day of Democracy was observed on September 15, 2021, in order to review the state of democracy across the globe.

Theme of the day

Theme of International Day of Democracy for year 2021 is “Strengthening democratic resilience in the face of future crises”.

Background

Why this day is celebrated on September 15?

IPU had suggested to celebrate this occasion on September 15, every year in order to commemorate the adoption of Universal Declaration on Democracy 10 years ago. First such celebration was held in 2008. Every year, events are organised under an individual theme.

Significance of the day

United Nations notes that, the International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review “state of democracy” worldwide. Democracy is a process as a goal which can be made into a reality only with the full participation of international community. Essential elements of democracy include: values of freedom, respect for human rights and holding periodic & genuine elections by universal suffrage.

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Italy on Cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management on September 15, 2021.

Highlights

MoU was signed between National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India and Department of Civil Protection of the Presidency of Council of Ministers of Italy.

Significance of the MoU

Background

MoU on cooperation in the Field of Disaster Risk Reduction and management was signed in June, 2021.

India-Italy Relations

Political relation between India and Italy was established in 1947, after India’s independence. However, culturally both the countries share relation since ancient time. Classical languages namely Sanskrit and Latin belong to Indo-European language family. Peoples of these two ancient civilizations have interacted and traded with each other for more than 2000 years. Italian port cities acted as important trading posts on the spice route to carry spices from India to European nations. Indian troops were also active in Italy during World War II.

Economic Cooperation

India is Italy’s fifth largest trading partner among the European Union whereas Italy is the fifth largest investor in India.

Cultural Cooperation

Agreement over cultural cooperation between both the countries was signed in 1976. It comprises of Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between both the nations, that provides for exchange of students in language programmes and other academic courses.

The Indian military contingent consisting of an all arms combined force of 200 personnel, including 38 personnel from the Indian Air Force, is taking part in the Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION -2021. This exercise is being held in the Orenburg Region of South West Russia from September 13 to 25, 2021.

SCO Peaceful Mission 2021

6th edition of Exercise Peaceful Mission

6th edition of the Exercise Peaceful Mission is being hosted by Russia, with the aim of fostering close relations between SCO member states. The exercise also seeks to enhance abilities of the military leaders for commanding the multi-national military contingents.

Indian Contingent

Indian contingent was inducted to exercise area by two IL-76 aircrafts. Before their departure, contingent underwent training and preparation under the aegis of South Western Command.

Significance of the exercise

This exercise will enable the sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of SCO nations. It will also provide an opportunity to all the Armed Forces to train in Counter-Terrorism Operations in urban scenario and a multinational & joint environment.  Key scope of the exercise comprises of professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills & procedures, elimination of terrorist threats, and establishment of joint command & control structures. It is a landmark event of military interactions and global cooperation against the counter-terrorism.

Heads of Tax Authorities of the BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa held their virtual meeting on Tax matters from September 13 to September 14, 2021.

Key facts

BRICS Tax Authorities

Theme of the meeting

The Tax authorities meeting was held with the broad theme of “redefining business processes of tax administration amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19 and in the digital era”.

NITI Aayog, in association with the RMI and RMI India, launched Shoonya campaign on September 15, 2021.

Key Points

Branding and certification programme

Under the campaign, a corporate branding and certification program has been launched in order to recognize and facilitate industry’s efforts of shifting towards EVs for final mileage delivery. Online tracking platform shares the impact of this campaign by providing data like kilometers of electrified vehicles, standard pollutant savings, carbon savings and other benefits from clean delivery vehicles.

Main Purpose of the campaign

The main purpose of the campaign is to eliminate pollution from urban freight sector. For this purpose, e-commerce companies, automakers, and logistics fleet operators have been asked to recognize the opportunity.

Urban freight vehicles in India

Urban freight vehicles account for 10% of India’s freight-related CO2 emissions. These emissions are expected to rise by 114% by 2030. Since EVs do not emit such emissions, they can contribute in improving air quality. They also emit 15-40 percent less CO2 as far as its manufacturing is concerned. Their operating costs is also low as compared to their internal combustion engine counterparts.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released its Trade and Development report on September 15, 2021.

Key findings of the report

Impact of Covid-19

According to UNCTAD, a severe and broadly unanticipated second wave of the covid-19 pandemic along with the bottlenecks in vaccine roll-out, hit India in the second quarter of 2021. Apart from that, rising food and general price inflation, widespread lockdowns and drastic consumption & investment adjustments also hit India.

Asian economies

As per report, other Asian economies have witnessed the largest portfolio outflows of all regions, throughout 2020 and 2021. Portfolios include substantive non-resident investor flight of the domestic sovereign bond markets, strong FDI etc.

Retail inflation in India

UNCTAD also raised the issue of high retail inflation in India. However, it does not take into account the easing of rate of price rise. According to UN body, consumer inflation was at six per cent before covid-19 pandemic. But pandemic caused a temporary drop in prices. However, as the economy recovered and food prices accelerated, India was back a 6% inflation rate in mid-2021.

Union Cabinet has approved a Rs. 26058 crore production linked incentive (PLI) scheme on September 15, 2021, for auto, auto-components and drone industries in order to enhance India’s manufacturing capabilities.

Highlights

Background

PLI scheme for automobile and drone industries is a part of overall announcement of PLI schemes that was announced for 13 sectors during the Union Budget 2021-22. It was announced with an outlay of Rs. 1.97 lakh crore.

Significance of the scheme

Components of the scheme

The scheme comprises of two components- Champion OEM Incentive Scheme and Component Champion Incentive Scheme.

  1. Champion OEM Incentive scheme: It is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme. It is applicable on Battery Electric Vehicles as well as Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles of all segments.
  2. Component Champion Incentive scheme: It is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme which is applicable on Advanced Automotive Technology components of vehicles, vehicle aggregates of 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers, commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and tractors.

The Union cabinet has approved a relief package for telecom sector on September 15, 2021. The relief package includes a four-year moratorium on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies.

Highlights

Definition of AGR

Definition of AGR has been a major cause for stress in the telecom sector. Its definition has now been rationalised by excluding the non-telecom revenue of telecom companies. AGR are the revenues, considered for payment of statutory dues.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Any investment made from an individual or firm of a foreign country into a country is called Foreign Direct Investment. When a foreign company acquires ownership or controlling stake in shares of a company in one country or establishes businesses there, is called as FDI. It is different than the foreign portfolio investment in which foreign entity just buys equity shares of a company. Foreign entity gets a day-to-day say in operations of the company under FDI.

FDI routes in India

  1. Automatic Route FDI: In this route of FDI, foreign entity does not require prior approval of the government or the RBI. For example, FDI in Medical devices, Thermal power, Services under Civil Aviation Services like Maintenance & Repair Organizations etc does not require prior approval.
  2. Government Route FDI: Under this route of FDI, foreign entity is required to compulsorily take approval of the government. To get the approval, it should first file an application through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal. Then this application is forwarded to the respective ministry or department, which lastly approves or rejects the application in consultation with the DPIIT.