Daily Current Affairs - 18-09-2021

The 36th International Coastal Clean-up Day was celebrated on September 18, 2021, for the tenth consecutive year.

Highlights

Aim of the drive

The clean-up drive was launched with the aim of creating awareness among people to keep beaches clean, safeguarding our environment and inculcating the habit of respecting the coastlines which ultimately nurtures the marine biodiversity.

International Coastal Clean-up Day

The day is traditionally held on the third Saturday of September. In 2021, this day is being observed on September 18th.

Theme of the day

International Coastal Clean-Up Day 2021 is being celebrated under the theme: “Keep trash in the bin and not in the ocean”.

History of the day

The International Coastal Clean-up started by the Ocean Conservancy, in 1986. During that time, communities rallied together with a common goal of collecting and documenting the trash lying on their coastline. Since then, International Coastal Clean-up Community encourages people across the world to remove trash and debris from waterways, beaches & other water bodies, on the third Saturday of September, each year. People are also encouraged to identify the sources of litter, to bring in behavioural changes that cause pollution and to raise awareness regarding the marine debris problem.

India and El Salvador held their Third Foreign Office Consultations in San Salvador on September 17, 2021.

Highlights

El Salvador–India relations

Diplomatic relations between both the countries were established on February 12, 1979. Embassy of El Salvador in London was accredited to India until June 2008 when El Salvador established its embassy in New Delhi. El Salvador currently maintains its embassy in New Delhi as well as an honorary consulate in Bangalore. Embassy of India in Guatemala is accredited to El Salvador. India has also an honorary consulate in San Salvador.

Consultations between both the countries

Both the countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2004 to hold regular consultations between the respective foreign ministries. First Foreign Office Consultations were held in August 2012. In 2012 itself, they also signed an agreement on co-operation in the field of science, technology & innovation.

The Ministry of Law and Justice has launched a Pan-India Special Campaign called “Ek Pahal Drive” for Justice Delivery at doorstep on September 17, 2021.

Key Points

Justice in Preamble

The Preamble to the Constitution of India has recognised Justice as the first deliverable for the Indian citizens. A successful and vibrant democracy is where every citizen not only get guaranteed justice, but where justice is equitable. This principal mandates for State to create an environment where justice-delivery is looked as a citizen-centric service rather than a sovereign function.

EK Pahal Campaign

Department of Justice launched this campaign across India, that will run from September 17th to October 2nd in order to encourage mass registration under Tele-Law. At the launch of campaign, registration login of 5480 beneficiaries was done. This login drive registered 138% increase as compared to daily average registration of beneficiaries. More than 25000 banners were displayed at CSCs in regional languages. Campaign will include the deployment of 185 Mobile Vans and other vehicles in order to show-case films and documentaries regarding Access to Justice programme.

Significance of Tele law

Tele Law provides pre-litigation advice or consultation to beneficiaries by Panel Lawyers. This medium uses a huge network by covering 51,434 Common Service Centres across 50,000 Gram Panchayats in 633 districts of 34 States & UTs. It will also be holding 4100 Legal Aid Clinics to give pre-litigation or legal advice to common citizens with the help of Panel Lawyers and Para-Legal Volunteers. Awareness programmes will also be launched at village level on legal aid in 672 districts.

45th GST council Meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 17, 2021 in Lucknow. Discussions over bringing petrol & diesel under the GST regime was discussed and several key decisions were taken.

Highlights

Key Decisions

  1. Concessional GST rates on drugs used in COVID-19 treatment extended till Dec 31.
  2. Tax rates on medicines used in cancer treatment was cut from 12 pc to 5 pc.
  3. GST rate on biodiesel for blending it with diesel was reduced from 12 pc to 5 pc.
  4. Inverted duty structure on footwear & textiles will be corrected from January 1, 2022.
  5. It is not the correct time to bring petroleum products under GST regime.
  6. A Group of state ministers (GoM) will be established to look after the rate rationalisation related issues. GoM will be making recommendations in 2 months.
  7. E-commerce operators Swiggy & Zomato will come under GST regime. They are now required to pay GST on restaurant service supplied through them, since tax is charged at point of delivery. Earlier, restaurants used to pay the tax.
  8. Another GoMs will be set up in order to look after issues of e-way bills, FASTAGs, compliances, technology, plugging of loopholes, composition schemes etc.

On September 17, 2021 two Indian Projects have been selected to get the Environment Prize.

Key Points

About Environment Prize

The first-ever Environment Prize, called Earthshot Prize, was launched by Britain’s Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) and David Attenborough in 2020. This prize is conferred annually from 2021 to 2030, to five winners each year. Winners are selected for their solutions or protects that substantially help the environment. It is given by the Royal Foundation, England. Award is given in five separate categories with the support of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Winners are selected by the Earthshot Prize Council which is a global team spanning six continents.

About Solar-Powered Ironing Cart project

This project has been developed by Vinisha Umashankar. She made the cut within the “Clean Our Air” category. Her concept is about solar-powered clean alternative for charcoal-powered street irons which press clothes for millions of Indians.

About Agricultural Waste Recycling Concept

This project has been developed by Takachar and co-founded by Vidyut Mohan. It has been nominated in “Clean Our Air Category” for its cheap, small-scale, portable technology. This project converts crop residues into sellable bio-products.

Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) for installing public charging station for electric vehicles in Punjab.

Key points

Significance of MoU

With the signing of MoU and this collaboration with PEDA, CESL is planning to expand its EV transition portfolio. It also seeks to provide accessible and affordable charging infrastructure in the state of Punjab. This partnership will also establish a roadmap of installation of public charging stations several locations. It will help in promoting the adoption of two-, three- as well as four-wheeler e-vehicles.

Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA)

PEDA was established in September 1991 as a state nodal agency to promote and develop the Renewable Energy Programmes as well as the energy conservation programme in Punjab. PEDA has been registered as a Society under the Societies Act of 1860. It works under the Department of New & Renewable Energy in Punjab government.

Function of PEDA

PEDA provides financial and fiscal assistance by PEDA to several projects under the NRSE Policy 2012 of the government of Punjab. It also acts as the nodal agency for REC Regulations and monitoring of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has designated PEDA as nodal agency for this purpose.

The World Bank Group has decided to stop publishing its “Doing Business report on country investment climates” because of allegations of irregularities.

Highlights

Trust in research

According to World Bank, trust in the research is vital. World Bank Group research informs about the actions of policymakers and helps countries in making better-informed decisions. It also allows stakeholders in measuring economic and social improvements accurately. Research has also been a valuable tool for private sector, academia, civil society, journalists etc in broadening their understanding of global issues.

What is the issue?

Data irregularities were reported on Doing Business 2018 and 2020 internally in June 2020. Following this, World Bank management stopped the next edition of Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews & audits of the report along with its methodology.

Doing Business 2020 report

According to Doing Business 2020 report, India had jumped 14 places in the ease of doing business ranking, to the 63rd position. It has improved the rank by 79 positions over five years that is, in between 2014 to 2019.

A new sero survey was conducted in between August 12 to September 9, 2021 in the anticipation of a third wave of covid-19 infection. This is the firth sero survey by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Highlights

This study was conducted on the 8,674 samples. These samples were collected thorough systematic random sampling from all the 24 city wards, and people visiting municipal dispensaries & doctors’ offices in slum as well as non-slum areas.

Key Findings

How samples were collected?

Hungary has unveiled the statue of Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto on September 16, 202.

Highlights

Features of the statue

Statue is a featureless face of the bust and is wrapped in a bronze hoodie comprising the Bitcoin logo. The statue has been polished heavily in order to make it reflective like a mirror. Viewers can see themselves in the statue.

Creators of the statue

Statue has been created by Reka Gergely and Tamas Gilly. They have portray a human form and have stayed true to the anonymity of Nakamoto, the person nobody knows how do they look like.

About Bitcoin

Bitcoin was created in 2008 in the backdrop of global financial crisis. Its aim was to circumvent traditional financial institutions by means of developing secure technology for peer-to-peer online transactions. It does not involve intermediaries like banks.  The founding white paper published in 2008 and was authored by Nakamoto.

About Nakamoto

Nakamoto is a pseudonym which can be referred to a person or group of people of unknown gender, age & national origin.

The World Patient Safety Day was marked worldwide on September 17, 2021 in order to raise global awareness regarding the patient safety.

Key Points

Theme of the Day

The World Patient Safety Day 2021 was observed with the theme “Safe maternity and newborn care. On the occasion, WHO also encourages all stakeholders to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!”

Background

The World Patient Safety Day was established in May 2019 by adopting the Resolution WHA72.6 by the 72nd World Health Assembly. Resolution WHA72.6 is on “Global action on patient safety”. World Patient Safety Day is the capstone of the successful Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety that started in 2016 in London.

Significance of the day

According to WHO Data, around 810 women die because of avoidable causes connected to pregnancy and delivery, every day. Furthermore, about 6700 infants die every day, which accounts for 47 percent of all fatalities among children aged under five. Data shows that, 2 million babies are stillborn each year, of which 40% are happening during labour. Thus, it becomes important to realise the magnitude of the harm caused by medical errors which can be avoided. Thus, the day become significant to raise awareness.

Aim of the day

The day is observed with the aim of minimising unnecessary risks and damage to all women and newborns during labour and delivery.

NITI Aayog has partnered with BYJU’S on September 17, 2021, in a bid to provide free access to education to students in 112 Aspirational Districts in India.

Key Points

Main components of the initiative

Collaboration between NITI Aayog and BYJU’s to support the school students in the developmentally challenged districts have two main components:

  1. BYJU’S Career-Plus programme: This programme under Aakash+BYJU’S will help in providing high-quality test prep coaching to 3,000 meritorious students from classes 11 and 12 who aims to appear for NEET and JEE.
  2. Voluntary programme: Under the social impact initiative, education for all, students can opt for receiving scholastic content from BYJU’s Learning App for three years. This programme is for school-going age children, classes 6-12.

Dedicated working group

This project envisages for establishment of a dedicated working group which will create a knowledge, innovation, and strategy support system. The team will also be monitoring and evaluate programme implementation in order to enable efficacy and ensure better scope of delivery.

How students will be selected?

Students for the career plus programme will be selected by means of a pre-designed test. They will be provided teaching and content material, along with mentoring support & guidance. The initiative will combine the best of classroom as well as online learning. Thus, it will provide a hybrid model of education.

NITI Aayog released its “Building Urban Planning Capacity in India” on September 16, 2021.

About the report

The ‘Building Urban Planning Capacity in India’ report comprises of a set of recommendations on several aspects of urban planning like:

  1. Interventions for planning healthy cities
  2. Optimum utilization of urban land
  3. Ramping up human-resource capacities
  4. Strengthening urban governance
  5. Building local leadership
  6. Enhancing the role of private sector and
  7. Advancing the urban planning education system.

Key recommendations of the report

Background

In October 2020, NITI Aayog had constituted an Advisory Committee on ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Education in India’. This Committee has concluded its mandate with the “Building Urban Planning Capacity in India”  report.

The NITI Aayog

It is the public policy think tank in India that was established in 2015 with the aim of achieving sustainable development goals with cooperative federalism. It seeks to involve State Governments in the economic policy-making process, following a bottom-up approach.