The International Day of Sign Languages was observed on September 23, 2021 to raise awareness regarding the importance of sign language.
The day is observed every year by the UN General Assembly.
It is observed with the objective of raising awareness on the importance of sign language in full realisation of human rights of deaf people.
This day provides a unique opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of deaf people and other people who uses sign language.
It also acknowledges the early access to sign language and several services in sign language such as quality education which is vital for the development and growth of deaf individual.
Theme of the day
Theme of the International Day of Sign Languages, 2021 was declared by the World Federation of the Deaf. The theme is- “We Sign For Human Rights”. The theme highlights how each of us, deaf and hearing people, can work together to promote the recognition of our right of using sign languages in all areas of life.
First ever International Day of Sign Language was observed on September 23, 2018 across the world, with the theme “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!”. The day was celebrated as part of the International Week of the Deaf, which is observed during September 24 to 30. The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in the year 1958 and has evolved into a global movement of deaf unity since then.
Who proclaimed the day?
The International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Pension regulator Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is set to observe National Pension System (NPS) Diwas on October 1, 2021.
PFRDA also started a campaign under ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in order to promote pension and retirement planning.
NPS Diwas will be observed for a carefree azad retirement.
NPS subscribers will enjoy the benefits, power of compounding and will reap many of the benefits after retirement.
Aim of the campaign
PFRDA will organise campaigns with the aim of encouraging every citizen to plan for creating a financial cushion in order to ensure for oneself a financially sound future after retirement.
The campaign also seeks to create awareness regarding the pension planning among public.
It also aims to cover all eligible citizens under a pension scheme in order to fulfil the vision of pensioned society for India.
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)
PFRDA is the regulatory body working under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Finance. It looks after overall supervision and regulation of pension across India. It is the regulator of National Pension System and also ensures orderly growth & development of the pension market.
Members of PFRDA
It consists of a chairperson and six members. Out of 6 members, at least three shall be whole-time members. Members are appointed by the Central Government.
Which act was passed to set up PFRDA?
Interim Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority (PFRDA) was established on August 23, 2003 by a resolution passed by Government of India in order to promote, develop and regulate pension sector. Later, in September 2013, Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority Act was passed and was notified in February 2014.
International start-up hubs ranking 2021 was recently compiled and published by Start-up Genome for its annual Global Start-up Ecosystem Report 2021.
As per the comprehensive ranking of international start-ups, London, Mumbai and Bangalore have been featured among the world’s top start-up hubs.
London maintained the second-place ranking along with the New York for second consecutive year, despite Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.
Bangalore has also been ranked at 23rd position, maintaining the position among top 30 global tech hubs.
Delhi was ranked at 36th
Mumbai has been ranked at first position in the Emerging Ecosystems ranking, outperforming the fast-growing ecosystems in areas of performance, funding, talent and market research.
Karnataka is also the 4th largest technology and innovation cluster in the world and is home to more than 400+ global R & D centres.
About the report
This report ranks the leading 140 start-up ecosystems on the basis of seven success factors like Talent, Performance and Connectedness.
Most attractive destination
As per the report, London is the most attractive destination to set up a tech start-up outside the Silicon Valley. Its overall ecosystem is valued at USD 142.7bn. London is also among one of the best cities for access to funding, quality and activity in the investment ecosystem, globally.
Where does Indian Start-ups stand?
According to the report, Indian start-ups have raised USD 12.1 billion in the first half of year 2021. It demonstrates the rapid growth of India as the global hub for tech & innovation. India has produced 24 unicorns in 2021, as of August 2021.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to announce the rollout of the Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission (PM-DHM) across the nation on September 27, 2021.
This scheme will be launched with the aim of harnessing technology in order to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency of healthcare delivery across India.
It seeks to provide a better access to healthcare data.
It also seeks to create a national digital health infrastructure by building Health IDs, Unique Identifiers for doctors & health facilities, telemedicine & e-pharmacy, Personal Health Records etc.
This scheme will digitalize the healthcare by creating a country-wide digital health ecosystem.
It will enable the patients to store, access and give consent to share their health records with doctors as well as health facilities of their choice.
Unique digital health ID
This health ID will comprise of all the health records of each individual. It will be created with the help of details such as Aadhar and mobile number in order to generate a unique ID for them.
National digital health ecosystem
Under this scheme, a national digital health ecosystem will be created by means of provision of a wide-range of data, information & infrastructure services, and duly leveraging open & interoperable standards-based digital systems. It will also provide security, confidentiality and privacy of personal information related to health.
States running the National Digital Health Mission
The National Digital Health Mission is currently in its pilot phase in the union territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chandigarh, and Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Ladakh and Puducherry.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published a new report titled “Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development: Demonstrating the Interconnections” on September 22, 2021.
Highlights of the report
Release of the WMO report coincides with the annual session of United Nations General Assembly and the opening of the SDG Action Zone, dedicated to accelerating action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report also examines the implications of latest data & scientific research on the state of global climate for sustainable development in order to highlight how climate is changing and how these changes will help in achieving the SDGs.
Aim of the WMO report
WMO published its report with the aim of demonstrating the connections between global climate and SDGs. This goes far beyond the SDG 13 for climate action. Report also champions the need of greater international collaboration, which is required to achieve the SDGs. It also seeks to limit the global warming to less than 2 °C or even 1.5 °C by the end of the current century.
The report highlights seven climate indicators, impacting the SDGs:
Carbon dioxide concentration
Ocean heat content
Glacier mass balance and
Increasing temperatures will led to the global and regional changes as well as shifts in rainfall patterns & agricultural seasons.
CO2 concentration drives the global climate change and is indirectly responsible for risks related to several climate indicators. Thus reducing carbon emissions is the most effective and necessary climate-related actions to achieve SDGs.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its “Deposits with Scheduled Commercial Banks – March 2021 data” on September 23, 2021.
As per RBI data, Bank deposits have increased by 11.9 per cent year-on-year during 2020-21 as compared to 8.8 per cent in 2019-20.
Deposits increased in light of high growth in current account and savings account (CASA) deposits.
Share of CASA deposits climbed up to 43.7 per cent in March 2021 against 41.7 per cent in 2020.
Among the institutional categories, household sector has 64.1 per cent share in total deposits. Individuals, including Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), are the major constituent of the household sector. They have contributed about 55.8 per cent in aggregate deposits.
Non-financial corporations category
Bank deposits of non-financial corporations has increased by 18.8 per cent during 2020-21. In March 2021 itself, their share in total deposits increased to 16.2 per cent.
Which banks contributed the most?
Metropolitan branches of banks accounted for more than half of total deposits. Their total share stands at 59.6 percent of incremental deposits during 2020-21 as opposed to 43.2 per cent in 2020.
States that contributed the most
Three major states namely Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka accounts for one-third of total household sector’s outstanding deposits. During 2020-21, they accounted for more than 40 per cent of the total incremental deposits.
Share of private sector banks
Share of private sector banks in total bank deposits still continue to increase at the cost of public sector banks. It accounts for 30.5 per cent as compared to 29.5 per cent in 2020.
Ministry of Defence has placed an order of worth Rs 7,523 crore in order to procure 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun for the Indian Army.
Defence ministry placed this order with Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Chennai to supply the 118 Arjun Mk-1A tanks.
Arjun tank has been designed and developed by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
This tank has incorporated numerous upgrades on Arjun MBT, which is in-service main battle tank of the Indian Army.
About MBT Mk-1A Arjun Tank
The MBT Mk-1A Arjun Tank is the new variant of the Arjun Tank. It has been designed to enhance all-terrain mobility, firepower, and survivability of the Indian Army.
The tank has been infused with 71 new features. It has more indigenous content as compared to Mk-1 variant.
Mk-1 Arjun tank can take on the enemy during day as well as night conditions, in static and dynamic modes.
It has also been equipped with invincible multi-layered protection that are provided by an array of advanced technology systems.
Who developed the MBT Arjun Mk-1A?
The MBT Arjun Mk-1A has been designed and developed by Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), along with other laboratories of DRDO. It was developed within two years that is 2010-12.
Significance of the order
According to defence ministry, production order to Chennai’s Heavy Vehicles Factory will bring in large avenue in defence manufacturing for more than 200 Indian vendors including MSMEs. It will also open up the employment opportunities for 8,000 people.
Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index 2021 was published recently, in which India found the place among top-20 generous countries.
Key findings of the report
India has been ranked at the 14th spot. Its rank has improved up from the 10-year global rank of 82.
CAF report notes that, India is one of the fastest climbers on the Index.
According to the report, 61% Indians have helped a stranger during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
36% of Indians donated money.
34% Indians volunteered for social causes in India.
Scenario across the world
According to CAF survey, communities across the world have mobilised to help fellow citizens during covid-19 pandemic. It resulted in the highest ‘helped a stranger’ figures since 2009.
55% of the world’s adults (that is 3 billion people) were reported helping someone they didn’t know in 2020.
31% people donated money in 2020 as compared to donations in last five years.
Levels of volunteering in 2020 are broadly unchanged globally.
Developed countries such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Ireland, and the Netherlands were out of the highest ranking.
Australia and New Zealand maintained their top-10 ranking.
Poor countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana found place among top-10 generous countries in CAF 2021 index.
Which is the most generous country?
The most generous country across the world is Indonesia. Indonesia has been ranked at first position in the CAF Index this year. Indonesia is followed by Kenya, Nigeria, Myanmar, Australia, Ghana, New Zealand, Uganda, Kosovo and Thailand in that order. In the year 2019, US was ranked at top position.
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement on Food security on September 23, 2021.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on programmes and research in order to improve food, nutrition security and livelihoods across India.
It was signed between WFP India Representative, Bishow Parajuli and Director General of ICRISAT, Dr Jacqueline Hughes.
Both WFP and ICRISAT will work in collaboration to promote research, advocacy and raise awareness regarding the traditional nutritious crops, undertaking food & nutritional security analysis.
Significance of the MoU
This agreement is a strategic partnership between WFP and ICRISAT because both are aligned to their vision of food security, especially for poorest and vulnerable communities. MoU was signed in light of worsening global hunger, threatening food security, nutrition & livelihood of people because of growing climate change crises and shocks like Covid-19 pandemic.
ICRISAT stands for “International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics”. It is an international organization that conducts agricultural research for rural development. It is headquartered in Patancheru, Hyderabad. Other regional centres include Bamako in Mali, Nairobi in Kenya Niamey in Niger, Kano in Nigeria, Lilongwe in Malawi, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. ICRISAT was founded in 1972 while its charter was signed by the FAO and the UNDP.
About World Food Programme (WFP)
WEP is the food-assistance wing of the United Nations and world’s largest humanitarian organization. It is the largest organisation that focuses on hunger & food security and the largest provider of school meals. It was founded in 1961, with headquarter in Rome.
India and Australia held their first Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting on Coal and Mines on September 23, 2021 through Video conferencing.
JWG meeting is a precursor to the upcoming India-Australia Energy Dialogue which is scheduled to be held in October 2021.
Meeting was co-chaired by Additional Secretary in Ministry of Coal Vinod Kumar Tiwari from India and Head of Resources Division Paul Trotman from Australia.
During the meeting, Indian side overviewed the coal sector in India and presented emerging scenario for future. He also noted the priority areas that are required to be included for possible collaborations in coal and mining sectors in India as well as Australia.
It focused on Indian coal resources in the present & future scenario, as well as minerals demand & supply scenario.
They also discussed the collaboration on Clean Coal Technology, Coal Bed Methane, Surface Coal Gasification, sharing of Technology Coal Based Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Utilization between both the countries.
India – Australia ties
Both the countries have built strategic trust on each year over the year. They established the diplomatic relations in the pre-Independence period with the opening of Consulate General of India as a Trade Office in 1941 in Sydney. Lieutenant-General Iven Mackay was appointed as the first High Commissioner to India, in March 1944. In 1945, first High Commissioner of India to Australia arrived to Canberra in 1945. Since then, relations since then have witnessed a significant thaw. In 2014, Australia signed a uranium supply deal with India.
As of 2016, India’s exports to Australia is approximately at US$ 4.6 billion while India’s import from Australia was at US$ 11 billion. India mainly exports Passenger Motor Vehicle & machinery; Medicaments & Refined Petroleum; and Pearls, Gems & Jewellery to Australia while India mainly imports Coal, Non-monetary Gold, Wool, Copper, Fertilizers & Education related services from Australia.
UNICEF released its new report titled “Fed to Fail? The crisis of children’s diets in early life” on September 23, 2021.
According to the report, Children aged under 2 are not getting the food or nutrients they need to thrive and grow well. This is leading to irreversible developmental harm.
Report warns that rising poverty, conflict, inequality, climate-related disasters, and health emergencies like COVID-19 pandemic, are contributing to the nutrition crisis among those children.
Poor nutritional intake in the first two years of life can harm the rapidly growing bodies and brains of the children. It also impacts their schooling, job prospects and futures. But there has been little progress towards providing right kind of nutritious and safe foods for them.
While conducting the analysis across 91 countries, the report finds that, half of children aged 6-23 months are getting minimum recommended number of meals in a day.
One third of the children consume the minimum number of food groups they need to grow.
Impact of Covid-19
COVID-19 pandemic still continues to disrupt the essential services and is driving more families into poverty. According to the report, pandemic is also affecting how families feed their children. In several countries, families have been forced to reduce the purchases of nutritious food. Because of this, percentage of children consuming minimum recommended number of food groups reduced by a third in 2020 as compared to 2018.
Vulnerability of Children
Children aged under two are most vulnerable to all forms of malnutrition like wasting, stunting, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity. As per UNICEF estimates, more than half of children aged under 5 are vulnerable to wasting, globally.
According to the head of U.N. food agency, David Beasley, 16 million people in Yemen “are marching towards starvation”.
David also warned that, food rations for millions in Yemen will be cut in October 2021 unless new funding reaches there.
During a meeting on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, He said that the United States, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia donors stepped up when the World Food Program (WEP) was running out of money in first half of 2021. This funding helped in averting famine and catastrophe.
WFP is running out of money again. He notes that, without any new funding, ration reductions will be done for 3.2 million people in October 2021 and for 5 million by December 2021.
On March 1, 2021, at a virtual pledging conference that was co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had urged for $3.85 billion for Yemen in 2021. But countries pledged less than half the amount that is $1.7 billion.
Meeting on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis
This meeting was held on September 22, 2021 on the line of U.N. General Assembly’s annual leaders’ gathering. It raised about $600 million. Meeting was hosted by European Union and co-hosted by Sweden & Switzerland.
Yemen has been undergoing a civil war since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital of Yemen called Sanaa as most of the northern part of Yemen. They also forced the President of Yemen, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to flee to Saudi Arabia. Later, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States. They tried to restore President Hadi to power. Despite several air campaign and ground fighting, war has deteriorated into a stalemate and caused a humanitarian crisis. The U.S. has suspended its direct involvement in this conflict.
The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 came into effect on September 21, 2021 by amending the Patents Rules 2003.
By amending the rules, Union Government has reduced the patent filing and processing fees that are charged on educational institutions by 80%.
This reduction in fees is at par with similar concession available to start-ups under the Start-up India initiative.
Why patent fees have been reduced?
While applying for patents, innovators have to apply these patents in the name of institutions which have to pay very high fees for large applicants and thus work as a disincentive.
Thus, to encourage greater participation of the educational institutions, playing a significant role in India’s innovation, official fees have been reduced.
According to DPIIT, educational institutions engage in various research activities, where professors or teachers as well as students generate several new technologies that are required to be patented in order to facilitate commercialization of the same.
But high patenting fees restricts these technologies to get patented and thus work as a disincentive for development of new technologies.
To do away this problem, Patents rules have been amended several time in order to achieve the objective of removing procedural inconsistencies and unnecessary steps to process the applications.
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) launched the scheme, Facilitating Start-ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) in order to provide facilitators with filing and processing of their applications. Professional charges of such facilitators are reimbursed in accordance with the provisions of the scheme.