Daily Current Affairs - 22-09-2021

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has developed its indigenous charger for electric vehicles (EV) in order to give a push to EV ecosystem in India.

Key Points

Cost of the chargers

Cost of the EV chargers is expected to be in between Rs 50000 to Rs 60000.

Background

ARAI recently signed a deal with Bharat Electronics Limited on EV chargers. As per the deal, ARAI will provide the complete know-how of the charges while Bharat Electronics will manufacture them.

Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT) 2021

SIAT 2021 will be organised by ARAI in association with SAEINDIA and SAE International (U.S.). It will be held from September 29 to October 1, 2021, under the theme ‘Redefining Mobility for the Future’.

About 150 leading companies and organisations including oil majors & port authorities called on September 22, 2021 for decarbonising the global shipping industry completely by 2050.

Highlights

Aim of IMO

UN shipping agency called International Maritime Organization (IMO), aims to reduce the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships by 50 percent as compared to 2008 levels by 2050. However, industry groups are calling to accelerate action from governments.

Initiative by companies and groups

In the latest initiative, shipping, chartering, finance, fuel production & ports companies and groups are asking for stronger measures in order to ensure that sector will meet the climate goals set by the Paris accord. Paris accord seeks to limit the global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Call to Action initiative

Call to Action initiative was developed by the World Economic Forum, non-profit Global Maritime Forum and other partners. This action initiative calls for decarbonization of the shipping which could only happen with the urgency, if governments and regulators establish proper policy frameworks.

Signatories of Initiative

Other signatories of initiative include – container lines A.P. Moller – Maersk, MSC & Hapag Lloyd, Royal Dutch Shell, oil majors BP, mining groups BHP and Rio Tinto etc.

Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs & Distribution, Piyush Goyal, launched the “National Single Window System” for Investors and Businesses on September 22, 2021.

Highlights

About the National Single Window System

Significance of the Portal

Background

Finance Minister had announced an ambitious “Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) in the Union Budget 2020 that will provide “end to end” facilitation & support to investors, pre-investment advisory, information related to land banks and facilitate clearances at Centre & State level. The cell was proposed to operate by means of an online digital portal. Subsequently, DPIIT in association with the Invest India started developing the portal as a National Single Window System (NSWS).

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will hold meeting with US President, Joe Biden on September 24, 2021 in Washington.

Highlights

Who is accompanying PM Modi?

NSA Ajit Doval and the Foreign Secretary are accompanying PM Modi on his US visit. External affairs minister, S. Jaishankar is already in the US.

India-US Relations

India has been maintaining its friendly relations with the United States since the India’s freedom movement and its continued well after independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. United States had made Pakistan a Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) treaty-ally in the year 1954. India’s core national interests and concerns were acknowledged by the United Nations under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Both the countries signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016 and India was also declared as a Major Defense Partner of the US.

India has been asserting and reaffirming its take on the transfer and financing of the green technologies by developed countries to developing nations, ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP 26).

Highlights

India’s efforts towards climate change

Meeting with UN Secretary General

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

UNFCCC was established as an international environmental treaty to combat the “human interference with the climate system”. It was established in part by stabilizing the greenhouse gas concentrations in atmosphere. The treaty was signed by 154 states at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or the Earth Summit in 1992. Its headquarter is in Bonn.

The Asian Development Bank (ADP) has reduced its forecast for India’s GDP growth to 10 percent in 2021-22, from 11 percent it projected earlier.

Key Points

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

ADB is a regional development bank. It was stablished on December 19, 1966. its headquarter is in Philippines. ADB also maintains 31 field offices across the world. The bank seeks to promote social and economic development in Asia.

Members of the ADB

ADB admits the members of “United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)” and non-regional developed countries. At the time of its establishment, there were 31 members which now has increased to 68.

Background

ADB was modelled closely on the line of World Bank. Its weighted voting system is also similar to that of World Bank, where votes are distributed in proportion with the capital subscriptions of members.

Guinness World Records has certified two Japanese sisters as the “oldest living identical twins” of the world on September 20, 2021.

Key Points

Who are the twin sisters?

World’s fastest aging country

Japan is the world’s fastest aging country where about 29% of the 125 million population are 65 years or older. 86,510 of them are centenarians and half of them turned 100 in 2021.

Guinness World Records

Guinness World Records was incepted in the year 1955. It is a reference book published annually and lists world records of human achievements as well as the extremes of natural world. This list is the brainchild of Sir Hugh Beaver, and was co-founded by twin brothers Norris and Ross in August 1954.

Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has been conferred with the “SDG Progress Award” and was introduced as the “jewel in the crown of the day” at an event on September 20, 2021.

Key Points

Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)

SDSN was set up in 2012 by prominent economist and development strategist Professor Jeffrey D Sachs, under the aegis of UN Secretary General. This platform aims to mobilize the global scientific and technological expertise in order to promote practical solutions for sustainable development and gauge country-specific competitiveness for development performances.

Ninth International Conference on Sustainable Development

Ninth Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development was held on September 20. On this occasion, Sheikh Hasina was introduced as “jewel in the crown of the day. Her leadership was appreciated in spearheading the SDG campaign even during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDGs are collection of 17 interlinked global goals that has been designed as a “blueprint of achieving a better and more sustainable future for all”. These goals were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by 2030.

World Alzheimer Day was observed across the world on September 21 with the objective of raising awareness of the disease, common symptoms and risk factors.

Highlights

About Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain condition which gradually deteriorates memory and cognitive abilities. It is the most frequent cause of dementia in older people. This condition is a progressive illness which causes brain cells to deteriorate and die.

Background

A Greek Philosopher, Pythagoras, spoke of a human lifetime in the 7th century BC and referred to the final years of human existence as “senium.” He used the term senium to characterise the period of mental & physical deterioration. In 1901, Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, diagnosed the first case of Alzheimer in a 50-year-old German lady. Thus, this disorder was named after Alois Alzheimer.

Alzheimer Disease International

Alzheimer Disease International was formed in 1984. On the tenth anniversary of the Alzheimer Disease International in 1994, World Alzheimer’s Day was announced and is being observed on September 21 since then. The World Alzheimer’s Month was started in 2012.

Symptoms of disease

Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Inability to recall recent events or discussions is the early symptom of the illness. Memory problems increase with the development of disease. This disease is an irreversible, degenerative brain condition, affecting memory & thinking skills.

The International Day of Peace is observed by United Nations on September 21, every year.

Key Points

Background

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed a resolution in February 2021 and called the Member States to support a “sustained humanitarian pause” for local conflicts. As per the official website of UN, the global ceasefire must continue to be honoured in order to ensure that people who are caught in conflict have access to lifesaving vaccinations and treatments.

Theme of the Day

Theme of International Day of Peace in year 2021 is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. The theme focuses on how to help everyone in recovering better, how to build resilience and how to transform the world into a place which is more just, equal, equitable, inclusive, sustainable & healthier.

History of the Day

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had established the day in 1981. Third Tuesday of September was chosen as the International Day of Peace, which also marks the opening day of the regular sessions of the UNGA. Later, UNGA declared September 21 as the International Day of Peace in 2001.

Significance of the day

The day is celebrated as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. It plays a significant role in promoting peace across the world. The day seeks to promote a green & sustainable global economy which produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience towards climate impacts.

According to Agriculture Ministry, India’s food grain production is expected to touch a record of 150.50 million tonne in the Kharif season of 2021 with a better rice output.

Highlights

Kharif Crops

Kharif crops or monsoon crops or autumn crops are domesticated plants and are cultivated & harvested in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh during the monsoon season in Indian subcontinent. Monsoon lasts from June to November. Monsoon rains starts as early as May in some parts of the Indian subcontinent. These crops are usually harvested from the third Week of September to October. Major Kharif Crops in India include- Rice, maize, and cotton.

The Central Government has amended a 50-year-old rule and allowed IAS, IPS and IFoS officers to retain gifts they receive from foreign dignitaries while being members of the Indian delegation.

Highlights

All India service (conduct) Rules, 1968

Amended rule

A new subsection has been added to Section 11 of the All-India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968. According to it, a member of the service may receive and retain gifts from foreign dignitaries as per the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts or Presentations) Rules, 2012.

Background

Personnel Ministry had proposed this rule in March 2020 and had sought comments from state governments it. Currently, such gifts received from foreign dignitaries or from known or unknown sources are deposited with the ‘toshakhana’ in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Two more beaches in India have received the ‘Blue Flag’ certification on September 21, 2021.

Key Points

Blue Flag certification

Beaches with Blue Flag certification are considered as the cleanest beaches across the world. It is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels that are awarded to beaches, marinas, as well as sustainable boating tourism operators. Blue flag certification programme was launched in 1985 in France.

What are the Criteria for Certification?

To certify a beach with blue flag certification, a series of stringent environmental, educational, accessibility & safety criteria is checked. There are 33 such criteria that are required to be met in a bid to qualify for a Blue Flag certification. Criteria include water meeting certain quality standards, being disabled- friendly, having waste disposal facilities, having first aid equipment etc. Some of these criteria are voluntary and some are compulsory.

Who gives this certification?

The Blue Flag Certification Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental & non-profit organisation called “Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)”.