News Crux Science & Technology
NASA Delays Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission
nasa has delayed the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission due to issues in two major components of the spacecraft: one involves its main instrument, the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical-navigation (DRACO), which needs to be reinforced to withstand the launch environment and the other is its solar panels, known as Roll-Out Solar Arrays (ROSA), whose delivery has been delayed by supply chain issues caused in part by the pandemic.
About Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission
- The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for preventing an impact of Earth by a hazardous asteroid.
- DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space.
- The binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos is the target for the DART demonstration. While the Didymos primary body is approximately 780 meters across, its secondary body (or “moonlet”) is about 160-meters in size, which is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose the most likely significant threat to Earth. They are separated by just over a kilometer.
- The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact deflection by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6.6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera (named DRACO) and sophisticated autonomous navigation software. The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, but this will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes - enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth.
News Crux Defence
INS Karanj: Indian Navy Gets Third Scorpene Submarine
- The Indian Navy got its third Scorpene submarine, which will be commissioned as INS Karanj, of Project P-75.
- Earlier, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, MDL, has delivered two Scorpene submarines named Khanderi, Kalvari.
- The fourth submarine, Vela, launched on May 6 2019, has commenced sea trials, the fifth submarine Vagir, was launched on November 12, 2020 and has commenced harbour sea trials whilst the sixth submarine is presently in an advanced stage of outfitting.
- All the six submarines are being constructed under Project 75. The number 75 in Project 75 refers to a unique identifier which was assigned to a programme for series production of submarines.
News Crux Obituary
War Veteran Retired Major General BK Mahapatra Passes Away
- Retired Major General Basant Kumar Mahapatra, who had participated in four major wars including Goa Liberation and Indo-China war, passed away.
- During his 40 years of career in defence he had taken part in four wars — 1961 Goa Liberation, 1962 Indo-China war, 1965 fierce Patton Tank battle in Khemkaran of Punjab against Pakistan and 1971 India-Pakistan war.
- Acknowledging his contribution, the President of India had conferred the most prestigious Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) on Major General Mahapatra.
News Crux National
Govt. To Set Up Digital Intelligence Unit
- To address rising concerns of harassment consumers over calls or messages by telecallers and fraudsters, the Ministry of Communications will set up a Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU).
- DIU will be the Nodal agency to deal with unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) and financial fraud related complaints, especially in the digital space.
- DIU’s main function will be to coordinate with various Law Enforcement Agencies, Financial Institutions & Telecom Service Providers to investigate any fraudulent activity involving telecom resources.
- Further, a Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) system will be created at 21 License Service Area level.
- The above system will strengthen the trust of people in the digital ecosystem and will make financial digital transactions primarily through mobile more secure and reliable, which will result in the promotion of Digital India.
Current News National Social Issue
Amendments To Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2015
The Union Cabinet has approved Amendments to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The amendments, once approved by Parliament, will strengthen Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children.
Aim of this Amendment
To increase the scrutiny of child care institutions and enhance the role of district magistrates to ensure the set-up works in the best interests of children.
Major Features of this Amendment
A.Priority to Role of DM/ADM
- District Magistrates (DMs), Additional District Magistrates (ADMs) have been empowered to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.
- The district magistrates have been further empowered under the Act to ensure its smooth implementation as well as garner synergised efforts in favour of children in distress conditions.
- The district child protection units will also function under the district magistrate.
B.Expansion of the Definition "Child in Need of Care"
- Child victims of trafficking, drug abuse and those abandoned by their guardians will be included in the definition of "child in need of care" and protection under the amended law.
C.Streamlining Child Welfare Committees
- Till now there was no specific direction to carry out a background check of people who are to become members of the Child Welfare Committees (CWC) as there is no such provision currently to check if a person has a case of girl child abuse against him. Now, before becoming a member of the CWC, background and educational qualification checks will be included.
- Earlier, any organisation which wanted to run a child care institution would need to give its proposal to the state government but in the proposed amendments, before registration of a CCI, the DM will conduct its capacity and background check and then submit the recommendations to the state government. The DM can independently evaluate a specialised CWC, juvenile police unit and registered institutions.
- A member of the child welfare committee has to mandatorily attend three-fourth the number of meetings after the amendments.
D.Additional Categorization of Offences
- The amendments also categorise certain previously undefined offences as 'serious offences'.
- At present, the Act has three categories of ‘petty’, ‘serious’ and ‘heinous crimes’. One more category will be included of offences where the maximum sentence is more than 7 years but no minimum sentence is prescribed or a minimum sentence of less than 7 years is provided shall be treated as serious offences within the JJ Act.
News Crux National
‘Pey Jal Survekshan’ Launched Under Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban)
- A Pilot ‘Pey Jal Survekshan’ under Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) has been launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
- Pey Jal Survekshan will be conducted in cities to ascertain equitable distribution of water, reuse of wastewater and mapping of water bodies with respect to quantity and quality of water through a challenge process.
- As the first step, Ministry has decided to launch a pilot on Pey Jal Survekshan in 10 cities namely Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat and Tumkur.
- Based on the learnings of the pilot, this survekshan will be extended to all the AMRUT cities.
News Crux National
Forgotten Hero: Maharaja Suheldev
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial and development work of Chittaura Lake in Bahraich (UP).
- Maharaja Suheldev was the erstwhile ruler of Shravasti in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district, who ruled in the 11th century.
- He is known in the history for waging guerrilla warfare against Mahmud Ghazni’s colossal army.
- King Suheldev’s guerrilla warfare against Mahmud Ghazni began with the killing of his elder brother, Malladev, while defending the Somnath Temple from the latter’s army.
- On June 15, 1033, the armies of King Suheldev and Syed Salar Masood, nephew of Mahmud Ghazni fought a war on the banks of Chittaura Lake in Bahraich. In this battle, Suheldev's army completely destroyed Salar Masood's army. King Suheldev also killed Salar Masood.
- The legend of Salar Masud and Suheldev is found in the Persian language Mirat-i-Masudi. It was written by Abd-ur-Rahman Chishti during the reign of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
Fossil Of Dickinsonia - The Earliest Animal Life Found At Bhimbetka
- Dickinsonia, one of the world’s rarest fossils, has been discovered on the roof of Auditorium Cave in Bhimbetka rock shelter, Madhya Pradesh which dates back 570 million years.
- Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of a basal animal, which as per the records, lived during the late Ediacaran period (also called Vendian Period, uppermost division of the Proterozoic Eon of Precambrian time and latest of the three periods of the Neoproterozoic Era, extending from approximately 635 million to 541 million years ago).
- These fossils are known only in the form of casts and imprints in sandstone beds.
- Dickinsonia is among the earliest animal life yet found—predating the Cambrian explosion of life, which took place 541 million years ago and marked the rise of most major animal groups still around today.
- These are the only Dickinsonia fossils available in India, and the first such were found in South Australia.
- This is further proof of the similar paleo-environments and confirms the assembly of Gondwanaland by the 550 Ma (Mega Annum), but not reconstructions adjusted for true polar wander.
News Crux Species In News
Giant Leatherback Turtle
- The proposed tourism and port development projects in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands may threaten some of the most important nesting populations of the “Giant Leatherback Turtle.
- They are largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging Leatherbacks are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
- Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Conservation Status (IUCN): Vulnerable
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, India: Schedule I (Highest Legal Protection)
News Crux International
US Department Of Defense To Create China Task Force
- The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has come out with details about a new China Task Force that would inform the Pentagon’s strategic approach towards that country.
- It will provide a baseline assessment of department policies, programs and processes in regard to the challenge China poses.
- The task force will comprise of up to 15 uniformed and civilian DoD employees and headed by Ely Ratner, advisor to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
News Crux Obituary
Theatre Director Bansi Kaul Passed Away
- Noted theatre director Bansi Kaul has passed away.
- Born in 1949 in a Kashmiri Pandit family, Kaul began his career as a director with NSD Repertory Company after graduating from National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi in 1973.
- Kaul was a part of the faculty of school for many years before forming ‘Rang Vidushak’, his own theatre institute in Bhopal in 1984.
- In 1995, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and in 2014 Kaul was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri. Kaul also a recipient of the Rashtriya Kalidas Samman for the year 2016–17 given by the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.
News Crux Science & Technology
Square Kilometre Array Observatory Launched
- The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council held its inaugural meeting and approved the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope.
- The new venture is being deemed as important following the collapse of one of the most prolific radio telescopes in the world, the Arecibo in Puerto Rico, in December last year.
- The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an intergovernmental radio telescope project being planned to be built in Australia and South Africa.
- The headquarters of the SKA are located at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England.
- The SKAO has been designed to operate for more than five decades, and the construction of the first phase of the SKA is estimated to be completed by 2027.
Location of SKAO Radio Telescopes
- Under the organisation, two radio telescope networks would be set up at
- South Africa:Would be located in the Karoo region and will be operated by SARAO or the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).
- Australia: The telescope network in Australia would be located on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Aim of this Project
- The scientific aims of this project include the studying of gravitational waves in order to test the theories proposed by Albert Einstein, along with improving the human understanding of the Universe’s evolution.
- Apart from that, the SKAO also hopes to look for signs of life in outer space, while mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies.
- SKA is a project marking the participation of 40% of the global population, in terms of the countries that are participating.
- As many as 16 countries are currently a part of this project either at a government or national-coordination level or as observers. This includes India, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Germany, France, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, China, and Sweden.
- Moreover, there are eight African countries which are participating in coordinated action in order to support the expansion of the SKA project in the continent in the future.
SKAO & India
- India is participating at a national-coordination level, which is led by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- A total of 19 institutions are a part of the Indian coordination team, including IISc Bangalore, IIT Indore, IIT Kharagpur, and IIT Kanpur among others, and these institutions are located across the country.
News Crux Health
FSSAI Caps Trans Fatty Acids In Food
- The FSSAI has amended its rules to put a cap on trans fatty acids (TFAs) in food products just after it tightened the norms for oils and fats.
- Food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient shall not contain industrial trans fatty acids more than 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product, on and from 1st January, 2022.
- In December, the FSSAI had capped TFAs in oils and fats to 3% by 2021, and 2% by 2022 from the current levels of 5%.
About Trans Fatty Acids
- Trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, increase shelf life of food items and for use as an adulterant as they are cheap. They are present in baked, fried and processed foods as well as adulterated ghee which becomes solid at room temperature. They are the most harmful form of fats as they clog arteries and cause hypertension, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
WHO Targets & India
- As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of intake of industrially produced trans fatty acids. The WHO has called for the elimination of industrially-produced trans fatty acids from the global food supply by 2023.
- FSSAI is reaching this goal a year sooner than the WHO deadline i.e. 2022.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
Denmark To Create World's First Energy Island
- Denmark has approved a plan to build the world's first energy island in the North Sea that will produce and store enough green energy to cover the electricity needs of 3 million European households.
- The artificial island, which in its initial phase will be the size of 18 football fields, will be linked to hundreds of offshore wind turbines and will supply both power to households and green hydrogen for use in shipping, aviation, industry and heavy transport.
- The move came as the European Union unveiled plans to transform its electricity system to rely mostly on renewable energy within a decade and increase its offshore wind energy capacity 25-fold by 2050.
- The energy island is an important part of Denmark's legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030 from 1990 levels, one of the world's most ambitious.
- Denmark also has plans for an energy island in the Baltic Sea. The state will hold a controlling stake in both islands.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
India’s First Thunderstorm Research Testbed
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is all set to establish the country’s first thunderstorm research testbed at IMD’s observation centre in Balasore, Odisha.
- Expected to be fully operational in next five years, the facility will aim to reduce fatalities and loss of property due to lightning strikes in Odisha and the eastern states. Between 2011 and February 2020, about 3,218 people lost their lives in the State in lightning strikes.
- DRDO Chandipur, ISRO Balasore and Bhubaneswar met office will jointly implement the project. The IMD, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are jointly working on the project.
- The research unit will be equipped with augmented observational systems like radar, wind profiler, microwave radiometer and automatic weather stations to study Nor’wester thunderstorms in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar.
- Advanced observational systems will also be installed in north Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
- Top academic institutes like IIT Bhubaneswar, IIT Kharagpur, Fakir Mohan University, NIT Rourkela, Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanja Deo University at Baripada, University of Calcutta and Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi will be involved to conduct research on the data which will be shared to them by the testbed.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
India's First Geothermal Power Project
- India's first ever geothermal power project, known as ‘Geothermal Field Development Project’ is planned to be commissioned by the end of 2022.
- A tripartite MoU was signed between ONGC Energy, LAHDC, Leh and the Power Department of UT Ladakh.
- It will be established at Puga village of eastern Ladakh which has been identified as the hotspot of geothermal energy in the country by the scientists.
- In the first phase of the pilot project, one megawatt (MW) power generation capacity will be generated.
- In the first phase, the pilot project implemented by the ONGC-OEC will explore within the depth of 500 metres and it is planned to supply 24 hours free power to 10 neighbouring villages which are not connected with the northern grid for power supply.
- The second Phase is proposed for deeper and lateral exploration of geothermal reservoirs by drilling optimal number of wells and setting up of a higher capacity demo plant in Ladakh.
About Geothermal Energy
- Geothermal energy is the heat that comes from the sub-surface of the earth. It is contained in the rocks and fluids beneath the earth’s crust and can be found as far down to the earth’s hot molten rock, magma.
- To produce power from geothermal energy, wells are dug a mile deep into underground reservoirs to access the steam and hot water there, which can then be used to drive turbines connected to electricity generators. There are three types of geothermal power plants; dry steam, flash and binary.
- Dry steam is the oldest form of geothermal technology and takes steam out of the ground and uses it to directly drive a turbine. Flash plants use high-pressure hot water into cool, low-pressure water whilst binary plants pass hot water through a secondary liquid with a lower boiling point, which turns to vapour to drive the turbine.
News Crux Defence
India-US Joint Military Exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas 20’
- The India-US joint military exercise "Yudh Abhyas 20" commenced in Mahajan Field Firing Range of Bikaner district in Rajasthan.
- This is the 16th edition of annual bilateral joint exercise of both the armies. It will continue till the 21st of this month.
- The previous version of the joint exercise was held at Seattle in the United States.
News Crux Defence
HAL To Develop CATS Warrior
- The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing a futuristic high altitude pseudo satellite - CATS Warrior - with a start-up company, a first of its kind in the world.
- The technology is named Combined Air Teaming System (CATS).
- The satellite will be solar energised and become a big asset flying unmanned around 70,000 ft for 2-3 months and taking information.
- It will have a manned aircraft (will be known as mother ship), operating from far away, and four autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles known as CATS Warrior.
- In this project where the manned aircraft will operate within the boundary and the unmanned aircraft will enter the enemy zone and can carry out strikes deep inside the enemy territory.
- It will be able to stealthily enter 700 kilometres inside enemy territory.
- Capable of autonomous functions, these unmanned aerial vehicles will also have all the manoeuvring capabilities.
- It can straightway hit the target at a distance of 700 kilometres or can go to 350 kilometres and come back. It can carry ammunition, missiles if needed.
News Crux Science & Technology
Mars Ice Mapping Mission
NASA, in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is planning to launch a robotic Mars ice mapping mission, which could help the agency identify potential science objectives for initial human missions to Mars. It could help identify abundant, accessible ice for future candidate landing sites on the Red Planet.
- The international Mars Ice Mapper mission would detect the location, depth, spatial extent, and abundance of near-surface ice deposits, which would enable the science community to interpret a more detailed volatile history of Mars.
- The radar-carrying orbiter would also help identify properties of the dust, loose rocky material—known as regolith—and rock layers that might impact the ability to access ice.
- The ice-mapping mission could help the agency identify potential science objectives for initial human missions to Mars, which are expected to be designed for about 30 days of exploration on the surface.
News Crux Science & Technology
HAL And MIDHANI To Develop & Manufacture Composite Raw Materials
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for development and production of composite raw materials during the Aero India 2021 in Bengaluru.
- This is the first time that such a MoU has been signed for composite raw materials.
- Composites raw materials, mainly in the form of prepregs used in platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) are currently imported.
- There is no equivalent proven Indian approved/qualified supplier for various types of prepregs (carbon, aramid, glass types, etc) for the aircraft applications. This creates dependency on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
- The usage of composites in the aerospace is going to exist and increase, particularly for fighter aircraft/helicopter because of its inherent advantages over metallic raw materials. In addition, similar requirement exists for other aerospace and defence programmes, including those of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).
What are Prepregs?
- Prepregs are composite materials in which a reinforcement fiber is pre-impregnated with a thermoplastic or thermoset resin matrix in a certain ratio. Prepregs have unique properties as they are cured under high temperatures and pressures.
News Crux International
IOR Defence Ministers’ Conclave
- The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers’ Conclave was held with a keynote address by defence Minister of India - Rajnath Singh - on 4th February on the sidelines of Aero India 2021 in Bengaluru.
- He highlighted India’s approach and vision to tackle global challenges through Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s dynamic five ‘S’ vision - Samman (Respect), Samvaad (Dialogue), Sahyog (Cooperation), Shanti (Peace) and Samriddhi (Prosperity).
- Twenty six out of 28 countries from the IOR region attended the conclave either physically or in virtual mode.
Geopolitical and Commercial significance of IOR
- Indian Ocean is a shared asset and a lifeline to international trade and transport due to its control of major sea-lanes carrying half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments.
Challenges Faced in IOR
- IOR faces a number of challenges such as piracy, smuggling of drugs/people and arms, humanitarian and disaster relief, and Search & Rescue (SAR).
India & IOR
- As the largest nation in the IOR region with a vast coast line of 7500 Kms, India has an active role to play for peaceful and prosperous co-existence of all countries.
- To promote trade and tourism among IOR countries India has initiated various programmes like Sagarmala, Project Mausam, and Asia Africa Growth Corridor, etc.
- In consonance with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR, Neighbourhood First and Act East Policies, India has adopted a cooperative approach through capacity building assistance in partner countries. This was reflected in India’s supply of Indian made ships, maritime aircraft and setting-up of Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems, etc.
- Defence Minister of India has announced that India is ready to supply various types of weapons systems to IOR countries.
- India is developing a comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness picture in the IOR, which has resulted in signing of Technical Agreements for sharing of ‘White Shipping Information’.
- In IOR region India is providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Non-combatant Evacuation (NEO), and Search and Rescue (SAR).
News Crux States In News
Andhra Pradesh: 2nd State To Undertake Power Sector Reforms
Andhra Pradesh has become the second State after Madhya Pradesh to undertake the power sector reforms stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.
As part of the reforms, the State has started Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of electricity subsidy to farmers with effect from September, 2020. Thus, the State has successfully implemented one out of the three stipulated reforms in the power sector.
As per the guidelines issued by the Department of Expenditure, the States undertaking reforms in power sector are granted permission to raise additional financial resources of up to 0.25 percent of the GSDP. This is linked to a set of 3 reforms in the sector:
- 0.05 % of GSDP for reduction in Aggregate Technical & Commercial losses in the State as per prescribed targets.
- Another, 0.05 % of GSDP is allowed for reduction in the gap between Average Cost of Supply and Average Revenue Realisation (ACS-ARR gap) in the State as per prescribed targets.
- Finally, 0.15 % of GSDP of the State on introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to all farmers in the State in lieu of free/ subsidised electricity. For this, the State government has to frame a scheme for transfer of cash and implement the scheme in at least one district by 31st December, 2020.
PIB News Economy
Fishery Sector In Budget 2021-22
- Finance Minister has allocated an amount of Rs. 1220.84 crores for the Department of Fisheries, which is the highest ever annual budgetary support for the Department. This marks a 34% increase over the budget of FY 2020-21. Further, this includes an allocation of Rs. 1000 crores for the flagship scheme of the Department, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme for FY 2021-21, enhanced by 43% from FY 2020-21.
- Substantial investments will be done for the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres. To start with, 5 major fishing harbours – Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat – will be developed as hubs of economic activity.
- Further, inland fishing harbours and fish-landing centres will also be developed along the banks of rivers and waterways. Finance Minister has laid emphasis on the development of Inland Fisheries and for the first time in the history of the Fisheries sector, riverine harbours and fish landing centres will be constructed along the banks of rivers and waterways. The riverine fishing harbours and landing centres besides providing the aforementioned benefits will also provide the required thrust towards the organization of the inland fisheries sector which has hitherto been unorganized.
- Technologically advanced deep-sea fishing vessels with modern supporting facilities will also be rolled out for optimally harnessing the potential of EEZ and High Seas, thereby doubling incomes of fishermen and other stakeholders.
- This will also facilitate collectivization and registration of fishermen, fish workers and fish vendors associated with the fishing harbours and landing centres into Fish Farmer Producer Organisations (FFPOs).
- Also, a Multipurpose Seaweed Park will be established in Tamil Nadu. India with a 2.2 million sq. km EEZ area and 0.53 sq km continental shelf has enormous scope for seaweed cultivation and development of indigenous seaweed-based industries comprising of value-added products, nutraceuticals, biofuels, bioplastics, etc. which can substantially contribute to the global markets.
Current News Economy Development
Budget Introduces Agriculture Infrastructure And Development Cess (AIDC)
Agriculture Infrastructure & Development Cess (AIDC), has been introduced in the Budget 2021-22 to aid the agri sector.
The cess is not uniform and varies from product to product.
Proposed Agriculture Cess
|Items||Cess (In %)|
|Gold, Silver and Dare Bars||2.5|
|Crude Palm Oil||17.5|
|Crude Soyabean and Sunflower Oil||20|
|Coal, Lignite and Peat||1.5|
|Specified Fertilizers (Urea etc.)||5|
|Bengal Gram/Chick Peas||50|
|Cotton (Not Carded or Combed)||5|
Need for the Cess
There is an immediate need to improve agricultural infrastructure to produce more, while also conserving and processing agricultural output efficiently. This will ensure enhanced remuneration for our farmers.
Impact of this Cess on Common Citizen
- Overall, AIDC is not expected to affect a common citizen in any major way. The Govt. has taken up few balancing acts in this regard:
- Petrol & Diesel
- The Union Budget has imposed an Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 per litre on diesel. But, these will not result in any additional burden on consumers.
- The reason for it is that unbranded petrol was earlier attracting a basic excise duty (BED) of Rs 2.98 and a special additional excise duty (SAED) of Rs 12 per litre. These have now been reduced to Rs 1.4 and Rs 11 per litre, respectively.
- Similarly, the BED on unbranded diesel has been cut from Rs 4.83 to Rs 1.8 and the SAEC on it from Rs 9 to Rs 8 per litre. So, the overall excise incidence on petrol (BED+SAEC+AIDC) will now be Rs 14.9/litre, which was previously Rs 14.98, while that on diesel is Rs 13.8 (earlier Rs 13.83).
- Alcoholic Beverages
- A similar readjustment has been made for alcoholic beverages that currently attract 150 per cent basic customs duty. That basic import duty has now been slashed to 50 per cent, even as the Budget has proposed an AIDC of 100 per cent.
- Gold & Silver Dore Bars
- Gold & Silver Dore bars (2.5%) is one of them. But customs duty has come down by 5% for Gold and Silver imports. Thus there may not be any impact on this front.
- There are other items like Apples, Crude palm oil, crude soyabean oil, peas, kabuli chana , Bengal gram etc. on which AIDC is being imposed. There is also custom duty hike in case of cotton to 10% and on raw silk and silk yarn to 15% from 10%.
PIB News National
Nuclear Energy Production & India
- There are presently 22 reactors with a total capacity of 6780 MW in operation and one reactor, KAPP-3 (700 MW) has been connected to the grid on January 10, 2021.
- In addition, there are 8 reactors (including 500 MW PFBR being implemented by BHAVINI) totaling to 6000 MW under construction at various stages.
- The Government has accorded administrative approval and financial sanction for construction of 12 nuclear power reactors - 10 indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) to be set up in fleet mode & 2 units of Light Water Reactors (LWRs) to be set up in cooperation with Russian Federation.
- On progressive completion of the projects under construction and accorded sanction, the nuclear capacity is expected to reach 22480 MW by 2031.
- The Government has also accorded ‘In-Principle’ approval for five new sites for locating nuclear power plants in future.
PIB News National
Strategic Crude Oil Reserves Facilities In India
- Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Limited (ISPRL), a Government of India Special Purpose Vehicle, has established Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) facilities with total capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at 3 locations, namely (i) Vishakhapatnam, (ii) Mangaluru and (iii) Padur.
- As per the consumption pattern of 2019-20, the total capacity is estimated to provide for about 9.5 days of crude oil requirement.
- In addition, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in the country have storage facilities for crude oil and petroleum products for 64.5 days, thus the current total national capacity for storage of crude oil and petroleum products currently is 74 days.
- Under Phase II of the SPR Programme, the Government has given ‘in principle’ approval in June 2018 for establishing two additional SPR facilities with total storage capacity of 6.5 MMT at two locations namely (i) Chandikhol in Odisha (4 MMT) and (ii) Padur in Karnataka (2.5 MMT).
- As per the consumption pattern of 2019-20, 6.5 MMT SPR capacity is estimated to provide for about additional 12 days of India’s crude oil requirement.
PIB News National
Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) 2.0
- During her Budget speech, the Finance Minister announced that Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) 2.0 will be launched under the “Health and Wellbeing” vertical.
- In this mission, focus will be on complete fecal sludge management, waste water treatment, source segregation of garbage, reduction in single use plastic, reduction in air pollution by effectively managing waste from construction and demolition activities, and bio-remediation of all legacy dumpsites.
- This will be a continuation of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), with the following components for funding and implementation across all statutory towns:
- Sustainable sanitation (construction of toilets)
- Wastewater treatment, including fecal sludge management in all ULBs with less than 1 lakh population (this is a new component added to SBM-U 2.0)
- Solid Waste Management
- Information, Education and Communication, and
- Capacity building.
At the end of the Mission, the following outcomes are expected to be achieved:
- All statutory towns will become ODF+ certified
- All statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become ODF++ certified,
- 50% of all statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become Water+ certified,
- All statutory towns will be at least 3-star Garbage Free rated as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free cities,
- Bio-remediation of all legacy dumpsites.
News Crux Art/Culture/Heritage
Gussadi Dance Of Telangana
- Gussadi dance exponent Kanaka Raju of Telangana was bestowed with the Padma Shri honour 2021.
- The Gusadi Dance of Gonds Deepavali is the biggest festival for the Raj Gonds of Adilabad district in Telangana.
- Gonds dressed in colourful costumes and decorated with ornaments go to neighbouring villages in troupes, singing and dancing. Such troupes are called Dandari dance troupes.
- Each member puts on a turban of peacock feathers and horns of the deer, artificial beard and moustaches and goatskin to cover the body.
- This starts on the full moon day and goes on till the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Deepavali.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
Green Hydrogen Energy Mission
- The Union Budget proposed to launch a Hydrogen Energy Mission in 2021-22 for generating hydrogen from green power sources.
- India stresses on the hydrogen sources from renewable sources.
- This mission would decarbonise heavy industries, and also holds the key to clean electric mobility that doesn’t depend on rare minerals.
- Hydrogen can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.
- Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
CWCM: India's First Wetland Conservation Centre
- On the World Wetland Day 2021 (2 February), India got its first specialised institution - Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM) in Chennai.
- It will work as a knowledge hub for various stakeholders for conserving wetlands that occupy 4.6% of the country's total land area.
- The CWCM has been set up as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai.
- It will assist the national and state/UT governments in the design and implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research for conservation of wetlands.
- At present, India has 42 sites designated as wetlands of international importance under Ramsar convention, covering a surface area of 1.08 million hectares.
- The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.
News Crux Ecology & Environment
Arboretum To Conserve Shivalik Species
- To conserve various species while spreading awareness about them a first of its kind arboretum conserving over 210 species of trees found in the Shivalik Range of Himalayas was inaugurated in Uttarakhand's Nainital district.
- The range has an altitude ranging between 500m and 2500m above sea level, and owing to high rainfall, varying gradient and abundant sunshine, these mountains have rich floral and faunal biodiversity.
- Apart from trees, the arboretum also conserves species of cane, moss, lichen and ferns found in the Shivalik range.
- An Arboretum encourages the planting and conservation of trees and other plants. Like other arboreta, it collects, studies, grows, shares knowledge about, and ultimately protects trees.
News Crux Schemes/Plans/Policies
PM Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana
- PM Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about Rs 64,180 crore over 6 years.
- This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.
- This will be in addition to the National Health Mission.
- Setting up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states.
- Establishing critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions.
- Strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units.
- Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs.
- Operationalisation of 17 new Public Health Units and strengthening of 33 existing Public Health Units at Points of Entry, that is at 32 Airports, 11 Seaports and 7 land crossings.
- Setting up of a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region, 9 Bio-Safety Level III laboratories and 4 regional National Institutes for Virology.
- Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Operation Centers and 2 mobile hospitals.
News Crux Economy/Infrastructure
Mega Investment Textiles Parks Scheme
- The Centre has proposed a Scheme of Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) to enable textile industry to become globally competitive, attract large investments, boost employment generation, and exports.
- This will create world-class infrastructure with plug-and-play facilities to create global promoters in exports.
- MITRA will be launched in addition to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.
- Seven textile parks will be established over a period of three years.
- Along with the PLI Scheme, MITRA will lead to increased investments and enhanced employment opportunities.
- During the Union Budget 2021-22, Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced of bringing nylon chain on a par with polyester and other man-made fibres.
Current News National
Sector-wise Highlights Of The Union Budget 2021-22
In the Union Budget for 2021-22, the proposals for this financial year rest on six pillars — health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D, and 'Minimum Government, Maximum Governance'.
Health and Sanitation
- A new scheme, titled PM Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana, to be launched to develop primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare.
- Mission POSHAN 2.0 to improve nutritional outcomes across 112 aspirational districts.
- Operationalisation of 17 new public health units at points of entry.
- Modernising of existing health units at 32 airports, 15 seaports and land ports.
- Jal Jeevan Mission Urban aimed at better water supply nationwide.
- Strengthening of Urban Swachh Bharat Mission.
- 100 new Sainik Schools to be set up.
- 750 Eklavya Schools to be set up in tribal areas.
- A Central University to come up in Ladakh.
- Vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles – all vehicles to undergo fitness test in automated fitness centres every 20 years (personal vehicles), every 15 years (commercial vehicles).
- Highway and road works announced in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam.
- National Asset Monetising Pipeline launched to monitor asset monetisation process.
- National Rail Plan created to bring a future ready Railway system by 2030.
- 100% electrification of Railways to be completed by 2023
- Metro services announced in 27 cities, plus additional allocations for Kochi Metro, Chennai Metro Phase 2, Bengaluru Metro Phase 2A and B, Nashik and Nagpur Metros.
- National Hydrogen Mission to be launched to generate hydrogen from green power sources.
- Recycling capacity of ports to be doubled by 2024.
- Gas pipeline project to be set up in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (LPG scheme) to be extended to cover 1 crore more beneficiaries.
- No IT filing for people above 75 years who get pension and earn interest from deposits
- Reopening window for IT assessment cases reduced from 6 to 3 years. However, in case of serious tax evasion cases (Rs. 50 lakh or more), it can go up to 10 years.
- Affordable housing projects to get a tax holiday for one year.
- Compliance burden of small trusts whose annual receipts does not exceed Rs. 5 crore to be eased
- Duty of copper scrap reduced to 2.5%.
- Custom duty on gold and silver to be rationalized.
- Duty on naphtha reduced to 2.5%.
- Duty on solar inverters raised from 5% to 20%, and on solar lanterns from 5% to 15%.
- All nylon products charged with 5% customs duty.
- Tunnel boring machines to attract customs duty of 7%.
- Customs duty on cotton raised from 0 to 10%.
- Agriculture infrastructure and development cess proposed on certain items including urea, apples, crude soyabean and sunflower oil, crude palm oil, kabuli chana and peas.
Economy and Finance
- Fiscal deficit stands at 9.5% of the GDP; estimated to be 6.8% in 2021-22.
- Proposal to allow States to raise borrowings up to 4% of GSDP this year.
- A Unified Securities Market Code to be created, consolidating provisions of the Sebi Act, Depositories Act, and two other laws.
- Proposal to increase FDI limit from 49% to 74%.
- An asset reconstruction company will be set up to take over stressed loans.
- Deposit insurance increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for bank depositors
- Proposal to decriminalise Limited Liability Partnership Act of 2008
- Two PSU bank and one general insurance firm to be disinvested this year.
- An IPO of LIC to debut this fiscal.
- Strategic sale of BPCL, IDBI Bank, Air India to be completed.
- Agriculture infrastructure fund to be made available for APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure
- 1,000 more Mandis to be integrated into the E-NAM market place
- Five major fishing hubs, including Chennai, Kochi and Paradip, to be developed.
- A multipurpose seaweed park to be established in Tamil Nadu
- A portal to be launched to maintain information on gig workers and construction workers.
- Social security to be extended to gig and platform workers
- Margin capital required for loans via Stand-up India scheme reduced from 25% to 15% for SCs, STs and women.
News Crux Economy
Economic Survey 2020-21 Introduced Bare Necessities Index
- To assess equity, Economic Survey 2020-21 has introduced a bare necessities index.
- The Survey has underlined the need to focus on reducing variations in the access to bare necessities across states, between rural and urban areas, and between income groups.
- Inequalities in access to bare necessities like drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and housing conditions continue to exist between urban and rural India despite “widespread” improvements in each of these aspects, the Economic Survey for 2020-21 has shown.
- The BNI builds on the idea of Thalinomics in the Economic Survey for 2019-20, through which it had sought to examine the access to food in the country.
- The BNI summarises 26 indicators on five dimensions — water, sanitation, housing, micro-environment, and other facilities — and has been created for all states for 2012 and 2018 using NSO data. The index classifies areas on three levels of access — high, medium, low — to bare necessities.
- Government schemes such as the Jal Jeevan Mission, SBM-G (Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin), PMAY-G (Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana), may design appropriate strategy to address these gaps to enable India to achieve the SDG (UN Sustainable Development Goals) goals of reducing poverty, improving access to drinking water, sanitation and housing by 2030.
EDISON Alliance to Ensure Equitable Access to Digital Economy
- At the Davos Summit 2021, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched Essential Digital Infrastructure and Services Network, or EDISON Alliance.
- The aim of this alliance is to ensure global and equitable access to the digital economy.
- The EDISON Alliance will prioritize digital inclusion as a platform of partners with a common purpose for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021, the Alliance will focus on increasing digital inclusion in healthcare, education and financial services.
Global AI Action Alliance (GAIA)
- At the Davos Summit 2021, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched the Global AI Action Alliance (GAIA), an initiative to accelerate the adoption of inclusive, transparent and trusted artificial intelligence.
- The GAIA is a multi-stakeholder collaboration platform designed to accelerate the development and adoption of such tools globally and in industry sectors.
- It brings together over 100 leading companies, governments, international organisations, non-profits and academics united in their commitment to maximising AI's societal benefits while minimising its risks.
News Crux Sports
Jay Shah Becomes President Of Asian Cricket Council
- BCCI secretary Jay Shah has been elected as the President of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
- Shah will take over the reins from Nazmul Hassan, President, Bangladesh Cricket Board.
- Shah is the youngest administrator to be appointed as the ACC President.
- Headquartered at Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is a cricket organisation which was established in 1983, to promote and develop the sport of cricket in Asia. Subordinate to the International Cricket Council, the council is the continent's regional administrative body, and currently consists of 24 member associations.
News Crux International
UK’s Post-Brexit Tilt Towards CPTPP
The U.K. government has announced that it is applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world's largest free-trade areas made up of 11 developed and emerging economies in the Pacific, under its post-Brexit plans.
- It is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- It evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which never entered into force due to the withdrawal of the United States.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed on 4 February 2016, but never entered into force, as Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement soon after being elected. All original TPP signatories except the US agreed in May 2017 to revive it and reached agreement in January 2018 to conclude the CPTPP.
News Crux Ranking/Report/Survey/Index
Corruption Perceptions Index 2020
- India’s rank has slipped six places to 86th among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2020.
- India was ranked at 80th position out of 180 countries in 2019.
- New Zealand and Denmark were ranked at first position while Somalia and South Sudan were ranked lowest at 179th position.
- Berlin, Germany based organization - Transparency International – publishes this annual report.
India Justice Report 2020
- The 2nd Edition of India Justice Report (IJR) 2020 has been released by the Tata Trusts with the support of Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) – Prayas & Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
- Maharashtra (5.77 points) regained the top spot for better justice delivery among 18 large and mid-sized states (population over one crore each), it was followed by Tamil Nadu (5.73) & Telangana (5.64).
- In the category of 7 small states (population less than one crore each), Tripura topped the list followed by Sikkim & Goa.
- The IJR ranks states on the basis of three pillars – Police, Prisons, Judiciary and Legal Aid.
Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index
- India ranked 10th out of 11 Asia Pacific countries in a newly-launched health index to measure the progress towards personalised healthcare.
- The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report 'Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index' measures the readiness of 11 health systems across the region — Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand — in adopting personalised healthcare, enabling the right care to be tailored to the right person at the right time.
- The findings further indicated that Singapore performed highest overall of the geographies measured. Taiwan (2nd), Japan (3rd) and Australia (4th) also performed well in overall readiness. Indonesia ranked 11th in the index.
News Crux Social Inclusion
Economic Survey Backs For Social Stock Exchange
- The Economic Survey released by the Union Ministry of Finance on January 29, 2021 highlighted the concept of setting up a social stock exchange (SSE) in India for raising capital by organisations working for the realisation of a social welfare objective.
- It will be under the regulatory ambit of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the survey said.
- A social stock exchange (SSE) enables social enterprises to list their securities or other financial instruments, providing them with an avenue for raising capital for their operations and growth, and reducing their dependency on ad hoc funding like grants or donations. This would operate as a separate segment under existing Indian stock exchanges, enabling socially minded investors to diversify their investment portfolio and developing a strong social securities market in the country.
News Crux National
100 Years Of The ‘Chauri Chaura' Incidence
- To mark 100 years of the ‘Chauri Chaura' incident as a landmark event in the country's fight for independence, the Uttar Pradesh Government has announced to hold year-long centenary programmes and plans to develop the place as a heritage tourist spot.
- The Chauri Chaura incident took place on 4 February 1922 at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Province (modern Uttar Pradesh) in British India, when a large group of protesters participating in the Non-cooperation movement, clashed with police who opened fire. In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants. Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non-co-operation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.
News Crux Persons In News
RS Sharma To Head Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
- The National Health Authority (NHA) has appointed RS Sharma as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of country’s flagship public health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat, also called Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
- He would replace Indu Bhushan, who is serving as the Chief Executive of the Ayushman scheme since its inception in 2018.
- Ayushman Bharat, a flagship scheme of Government of India, was launched as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).