May 13, 2021

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

PRODUCTION-LINKED INCENTIVE SCHEME FOR THE ADVANCED CHEMISTRY CELL (ACC) BATTERY STORAGE
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Department of Heavy Industry for implementation of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme 'National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’.

About:

  • The move aims to achieve a manufacturing capacity of 50 GigaWatt Hour of ACC and five Giga Watt Hour of Niche ACC with an outlay of 18,100 crore.

  • ACCs are the new generation of advanced storage technologies that can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy and convert it back to electric energy as and when required. 

  • It will also give a big push to electric mobility, benefiting three-wheelers, four-wheelers and heavy vehicles.

  • India is currently importing Battery Storage Equipment worth 20 thousand crore rupees and the scheme will be helpful in making the country self-reliant (Atmanirbhar).

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

WORLD FOOD PRIZE
Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, a global nutrition expert of Indian descent has won the prestigious 2021 World Food Prize for her groundbreaking research in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquaculture and food systems.

Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted:

  • Thilsted's trailblazing research on small native fish species in Bangladesh led to the development of nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquatic food systems at all levels, from the farm to food processing to final consumers, resulting in improved diets for millions of the most vulnerable people in Asia and Africa.

  • Thilsted, who is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and a citizen of Denmark, was born in 1949 in the Caribbean island of Trinidad in the small village of Reform. Most of the inhabitants, including her family, were descendants of Indian Hindu migrants brought to Trinidad to engage in agricultural labour.

Important Info :

World Food Prize?

  • Objective: The World Food Prize recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
  • Fields covered: It recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply such as plant, animal and soil science; nutrition; rural development; marketing; food processing and packaging; water and the environment; physical infrastructure; policy analysis etc.
  • Eligibility: The prize is open to every individual without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs.
  • Presented by: World Food Prize Foundation, with various sponsor companies.
  • Background: The prize was conceived by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in global agriculture. The Prize was created in 1986 and was first awarded in 1987 with M. S. Swaminathan of India being the first recipient.
  • Ceremony: The annual award is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (October 16).
  • Cash prize: In addition to the cash award of $250,000, the Laureate receives a sculpture designed by the noted artist and designer, Saul Bass.
Source : Indian Express
Awards

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA (ICAI)
The Union Cabinet has approved signing of MoU between Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA).

About:

  • The MoU would enhance cooperation between the Institutes to work together to strengthen the Accounting profession and entrepreneurship base in Qatar. This MoU will benefit Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Qatar Financial Centre Authority.

  • ICAI has an active Chapter in Doha, Qatar which was established in the year 1981 and is the oldest among the 36 overseas Chapters of the ICAI. Qatar (Doha) Chapter is amongst the most vibrant Chapters of ICAI.

Important Info :

Background:

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949', to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.
  • Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) an independent legal entity established pursuant to Law No. (7) of 2005,is responsible for the development and promotion of the QFC as a world-class on-shore financial and business centre in the State of Qatar.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

AERIAL PASSENGER ROPEWAY SYSTEM BETWEEN DEHRADUN AND MUSSOORIE
The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the transfer of land of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, ITBP to Government of Uttarakhand for development of Aerial Passenger Ropeway System between Dehradun and Mussoorie.

About:

  • The proposed Ropeway is a mono-cable ropeway of 5580 meters length between Purkul Gaon, Dehradun and Library, Mussoorie being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 285 crore.

  • It will have a carrying capacity of 1,000 persons per hour per direction. This will considerably reduce the traffic flow on the road route from Dehradun to Mussoorie.

  • Besides, this will generate direct employment of 350 and indirect employment of more than 1,500 people. Once completed, the ropeway will be a huge attraction for tourists which in turn will provide a boost to the tourism industry in the state and create additional employment opportunities in the tourism sector.

Important Info :

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)?

  • The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is India's primary border patrol organization with its border with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It was raised in 1962 in the wake of the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
  • The "Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force Act, 1992" provides for the constitution and regulation" of the ITBP "for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected therewith".
Source : All India Radio
Geography

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

BAMBOO BATS
The guardians of the cricket laws, The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has turned down the idea of bats made with bamboo instead of willow.

About:

  • According to MCC it would be “illegal” under current laws, which says bats must be made only of wood and also bans lamination of the blade in bats meant for senior cricketers.

  • Currently, Law 5.3.2 states that the blade of the bat must consist solely of wood, so for bamboo (which is a grass) to be considered as a realistic alternative to willow would require a Law change.

  • But MCC did welcome the experiment, saying that “this angle of willow alternatives should also be considered.

  • A study by the University of Cambridge suggested that cricket bats made of bamboo offered a more sustainable alternative than the traditional ones made with willow.

  • According to researchers, the bamboo bat “was stiffer, harder and stronger than those made of willow, although more brittle”.

  • The research additionally brought up that willow trees need 15 years to develop and deliver cricket bats, while bamboo requires only five to six years. It is likewise accessible in wealth in China, South America, Southeast Asia, and India also.

Source : The Hindu
Sports

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY, 2021
The International Nurses and Midwives Day is celebrated on May 12 every year.

About:

  • The celebration of International Nurses Day started in 1965 by the International Council of Nurses(ICN).

  • This day is the birth anniversary of the famous Florence Nightingale.

  • She was an English nurse, social reformer, and statistician. During the Crimean war, she gained fame while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses, being the pillar of modern nursing. She brought a reputation for nursing and became an icon in Victorian culture.

  • The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is Nurses: A Voice to Lead-A Vision for Future Healthcare.

Source : FirstPost
Health

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

SMARAJIT JANA
A leader of the rights movement for sex workers in India and a public health expert known for his contribution to the prevention of HIV in the country, Smarajit Jana, passed away due to COVID-19 related complications in Kolkata.

About:

  • An epidemiologist, he was also a member of the National Task Force on COVID-19.

  • Jana spearheaded the first rights-based HIV intervention programmes in India by collectivising the sex workers of Sonagachi. He was also a member of the NACO’s steering committee.

  • Dr Smarajit Jana, who helped the children of sex workers a chance to fight discrimination through football, and was the founder of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Samiti.

  • Dr Jana was also the founder of Durbar Sports Academy. The Samiti is a collective of 65,000 sex workers in West Bengal. Established in 1992 in Sonagachi, the largest red-light area in Kolkata, it has been working for the rights of women and sex workers, and causes such as anti-human trafficking and HIV/AIDS prevention.

  • The organisation also used football to fight discrimination against the children of sex workers.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

NITI AAYOG’S PROJECT FOR GREAT NICOBAR ISLAND
The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) - Infrastructure I of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has flagged serious concerns about NITI Aayog’s ambitious project for Great Nicobar Island.

About:

  • The committee has, however, removed the first hurdle faced by the project. It has “recommended” it “for grant of terms of reference (TOR)” for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, which in the first instance will include baseline studies over three months.

  • Documents uploaded recently on the MoEFCC’s Parivesh portal show that the 15-member committee headed by marine biologist and former director, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Deepak Apte, made the decision.

  • The proposal includes an international container transshipment terminal, a greenfield international airport, a power plant and a township complex spread over 166 sq. km. (mainly pristine coastal systems and tropical forests), and is estimated to cost ₹75,000 crore.

Important Info :

Galathea Bay?

  • This includes Galathea Bay, the site of the port and the centrepiece of the NITI Aayog proposal.
  • Galathea Bay is an iconic nesting site in India of the enigmatic Giant Leatherback, the world’s largest marine turtle.
  • A number of species are restricted to just the Galathea region. These include the critically endangered Nicobar shrew, the Great Nicobar crake, the Nicobar frog, the Nicobar cat snake, a new skink (Lipinia sp), a new lizard (Dibamus sp,) and a snake of the Lycodon sp that is yet to be described.
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

PANGOLINS
Indian Researchers have sequenced 624 pangolin scales, thereby categorising the Indian and Chinese pangolins.

About:

  • Pangolins, despite being listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 continue to be the world’s most trafficked mammal.

  • The primary demand for its scales in the making of traditional East Asian medicines has led to an estimated illegal trade worth $2.5 billion every year.

  • To enforce the appropriate national and international laws and to track the decline of the species, researchers of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Kolkata, have now developed tools to tell apart the scales of Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).

  • They characterised the morphological features and investigated genetic variations between the two species by sequencing 624 scales of pangolins and comparing the sequences with all eight pangolin species.

  • Based on the size, shape, weight and ridge counts on the scales, the team was able to categorise the two species of Indian and Chinese pangolins.

  • Though the Chinese pangolin is distributed mostly in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the north-eastern part of our country is also its home.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
May 13, 2021

ANIMAL CORRIDORS IN KAZIRANGA
The authorities in Assam’s Golaghat and Nagaon districts have begun probing cases of clearance of forest land, digging and construction activities on at least three animal corridors within the eco-sensitive zone of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

About:

  • These two districts share large swathes of the 1,300-sq. km. tiger reserve that has nine identified animal corridors.

  • Seven of these — Amguri, Bagori, Chirang, Deosur, Harmati, Hatidandi and Kanchanjuri — are in Nagaon district while Haldibari and Panbari corridors are in Golaghat district.

  • These corridors are crucial for the rhinos, elephants, tigers, deer and other animals that escape a flooded Kaziranga during the monsoon months for the safety of the hills of Karbi Anglong district beyond the highway skirting the southern boundary of the tiger reserve.

  • But the most blatant violation has been on the Kanchanjuri animal corridor in Nagaon district. A patch of forest land has been cleared and a section of a tea plantation dug up apparently for a water reservoir.

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • Kaziranga National Park is located in the Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam. The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site.
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

May 12, 2021

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

SEBI PITCHES FOR ‘PERSON IN CONTROL’ OVER ‘PROMOTER’
Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) proposed to rationalise the definition of ‘promoter group’ and move to the concept of ‘person in control’ as well as lower the minimum lock-in periods for promoters and other shareholders after an IPO.

About:

  • SEBI has suggested rationalising the definition of ‘promoter group’ as the current definition focusses on encompassing holdings by a common group of individuals or persons and often results in including unrelated companies with common financial investors.

  • The regulator has proposed to do away with the current definition of promoter group as the deletion would rationalise the disclosure burden and bring it in line with the post listing disclosure requirement.

  • Citing the changing investor landscape, SEBI said there was a need to revisit the concept of ‘promoter’ to a concept of ‘person in control’ and a period of three years has been proposed for such a shift over in a smooth and progressive manner without causing disruption.

  • With regard to lock-in periods, SEBI has proposed that if the objective of the issue involves offer for sale or financing other than for capital expenditure for a project, then the minimum promoters’ contribution of 20% should be locked-in for one year from the date of allotment in the Initial Public Offer (IPO). Currently, the lock-in period is three years.

  • SEBI has sought comments from the public on the proposals, the window being open till June 10.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

KR GOURI AMMA
Veteran Communist leader and the leader of Janadipathya Samrakshana Samiti (JSS), K.R. Gouri Amma passed away in Thiruvananthapuram due to age-related ailments. She was 102 years old.

About:

  • R. Gouri Amma was an Indian politician and the first revenue minister of Kerala state.

  • She was a Marxist revolutionary, advocate, author and diplomat.

  • She was also one of the founding leaders of the Communist movement in Kerala.

  • She headed the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS), a political party based in Kerala, a rebel outfit she had formed in 1994 after her ouster from CPI (M).

  • She was the first female law student coming from the Ezhava community. She was a minister in the communist-led ministries in Kerala in 1957, 1967, 1980 and 1987. She also became a minister in the Congress-led cabinet from 2001 to 2006.

  • She had been a minister in the first democratically elected Communist Government of 1957 in Kerala led by E M S Namboodiripad. As the revenue minister in the EMS cabinet, Gouri had drafted and piloted the historic Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, which paved the way for land reforms.

  • She has been the longest serving woman legislator in the Kerala Assembly, the oldest woman member in the Assembly, the oldest woman Minister etc.

  • She published an autobiography titled Atmakatha, which won the 2011 Kerala Sahitya Academy Award.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

INDIAN RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY LIMITED (IREDA)
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. IREDA has been conferred with “Green Urja Award” for being the Leading Public Institution in Financing Institution for Renewable Energy this year by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

About:

  • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

  • IREDA is a Public Limited Government Company established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987.

  • IREDA has been notified as a “Public Financial Institution” under section 4 ‘A’ of the Companies Act, 1956 and registered as Non-Banking Financial Company (NFBC) with Reserve Bank of India (RBI). IREDA’s Motto is “Energy for Ever.”

  • IREDA is the only dedicated institution for financing Renewable Energy (RE) & Energy Efficiency (EE) projects in India. Since, its inception the company has played a catalytic role in developing market for financing RE & EE projects.

  • IREDA has over the years sanctioned loans aggregating to Rs. 96,601 crores, disbursed Rs. 63,492 cores and supported more than 17,586 MW of RE capacity in the country till date.

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

JAL JEEVAN MISSION
Puducherry has become the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Union Territory by ensuring that every rural home gets a household tap connection.

About:

  • Puducherry has now become the fourth state or UT after Goa, Telangana and Andaman and Nicobar Islands to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home under Central Government’s flagship  programme, Jal Jeevan Mission, JJM.

  • JJM is a flagship programme of the Union Government, which aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024.

  • Under Jal Jeevan Mission, in 2021-22, in addition to Rs 50,011 Crore budgetary allocation for JJM, there is also Rs 26,940 Crore assured fund available under the 15th Finance Commission tied-grant to RLB/ PRIs for water & sanitation, matching State share and externally aided as well as State funded projects.

Source : All India Radio
Water

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY DAY
National Technology Day was observed in India on May 11, 2021.

About:

  • The day is celebrated every year on the 11th of May to highlight the achievements of engineers and scientists in the field of technology and science.

  • Former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee coined this term to celebrate the contributions made by Indian scientists.

  • This day marks the anniversary of the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests, which gave India a new strength and presence across the globe.

Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

OSIRIS-REx MISSION / ASTEROID BENNU
On May 11, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will depart asteroid Bennu, and start its two-year long journey back to Earth.

Bennu

  • Bennu is an asteroid located about 200 million miles away from the Earth.

  • Bennu is named after an Egyptian deity. The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.

  • Bennu is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.

Significance of bennu

  • Bennu is considered to be an ancient asteroid that has not gone through a lot of composition-altering change through billions of years, which means that below its surface lie chemicals and rocks from the birth of the solar system.

  • Therefore, scientists and researchers are interested in studying this asteroid as it might give them clues about the origins of the solar system, the sun, the Earth and the other planets.

Important Info :

OSIRIS-Rex

  • OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey its surface and collect a sample from it.
  • The mission is essentially a seven-year-long voyage and will conclude when at least 60 grams of samples are delivered back to the Earth. The mission promises to bring the largest amount of extra-terrestrial material back to our planet since the Apollo era.
  • The mission was launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018 and since then, the spacecraft has been trying to match the velocity of the asteroid using small rocket thrusters. It also utilised this time to survey the surface and identify potential sites to take samples.
  • The spacecraft contains five instruments meant to explore Bennu including cameras, a spectrometer and a laser altimeter.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC)
Justice Prafulla Chandra Pant, a former Supreme Court judge, has been appointed the Acting Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with effect from April 25, the commission said.

About:

  • Background: NHRC was established in 1993. It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the protection of human rights held in Paris in 1991.

  • Status: It is a statutory organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.

  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

  • Functions:
    • The purpose of the NHRC is, suo moto or through the petition of a person, to investigate the violation of human rights or the failures of the state or other to prevent a human rights violation.

    • The commissions may also take on research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.



  • Composition:
    • The Commission consists of a Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.

    • The statute lays down qualifications for the appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Commission. A Chairperson, should be retired Chief Justice of India.



Important Info :
  • Justice Pant was appointed a member of the NHRC on April 22, 2019.
  • The post of Chairperson has been vacant since the former Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu completed his tenure on December 2.
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

INNOVATORS GROWTH PLATFORM
With an aim to boost listing of start-ups, markets regulator SEBI has notified a slew of relaxations to norms, including reducing holding period for pre-issue capital and allowing discretionary allotment to eligible investors.

About:

  • The changes have been made to the framework for listing on the Innovators Growth Platform (IGP).

  • This comes after the board of SEBI approved a proposal in March in this regard.

  • Other relaxations include easing delisting requirements and relaxation in guidelines for migrating to the main board.

  • This is aimed at making the platform more accessible to companies in view of the evolving start-up ecosystem.

  • The regulator has reduced the period of holding of 25 per cent of pre-issue capital of the issuer company by eligible investors to one year from the current requirement of two years.

  • The term 'Accredited Investor' for the purpose of IGP is renamed as 'Innovators Growth Platform Investors'. Such investor's pre-issue shareholding would be considered for entire 25 per cent of the pre-issue capital of the issuer company against the present limit of only 10 per cent.

Important Info :

Background

  • In 2015, SEBI introduced the Institutional Trading Platform (ITP) with a view to facilitate listing of new age start-ups. However, the ITP framework failed to evince interest. Last year, SEBI renamed it as the Innovators Growth Platform.
Source : Economic Times
Economy

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY REPORT (BRSR)
Regulator SEBI came out with disclosure requirements under business responsibility and sustainability reporting, covering environmental, social and governance perspectives, which will be applicable on the top 1,000 listed entities by market capitalisation.

About:

  • The new report -- Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR)-- will replace the existing Business Responsibility Report (BRR).

  • The move is expected to bring in greater transparency and enable market participants to identify and assess sustainability-related risks and opportunities.

  • Under BRSR, listed entities need to disclose about an overview of the entity's material ESG (environmental, social and governance) risks and opportunities, approach to mitigate or adapt to the risks along with financial implications of the same.

  • In addition, sustainability related goals and targets and performance against the same need to mentioned in the report, it added.

  • Environment related disclosures cover aspects such as resource usage (energy and water), air pollutant emissions, green-house (GHG) emissions, transitioning to circular economy, waste generated and waste management practices, bio-diversity.

  • Social related disclosures would cover the workforce, value chain, communities and consumers.

  • At communities level, listed entities will have to make disclosures on Social Impact Assessments (SIA), Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Corporate Social Responsibility, among others.

  • The BRSR will be applicable on the top 1,000 listed entities by market capitalization.

  • SEBI said the reporting would be on voluntary basis for financial year 2021-22 and on a mandatory basis from 2022-23.

  • The filing of the BRR containing ESG disclosures was first introduced for listed entities in 2012 and since then, a number of developments have taken place.

  • With the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change and UN sustainable development goals, adapting to and mitigating climate change impact and transitioning to sustainable economies have emerged as major issues globally.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
May 12, 2021

SHEIKH ZAYED BOOK AWARD
Prominent German philosopher Juergen Habermas had turned down the Sheikh Zayed Book Award over its ties “with the existing political system” in the UAE, a hereditarily ruled country long criticised for its suppression of dissent.

About:

  • The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is a literary award begun in the UAE.

  • The award is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the UAE when the federation of seven sheikhdoms became a country in 1971.

  • While describing itself as an “independent” initiative, the prize is administered by Abu Dhabi culture and tourism authorities.

  • The "Cultural Person of the Year" is the premier category, it includes an award of one million Dirhams (around $300,000) while the other categories receive around $200,000 each.

Important Info :
  • Habermas was named the Cultural Personality of the Year, a distinction that carries a cash prize of 1 million dirhams.
  • Habermas’ influential writings on human rights, morality and democracy, among other topics, have stirred debate in Germany and beyond.
Source : The Hindu
Awards

May 11, 2021

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

DIGITAL FINANCIAL INCLUSION
NITI Aayog and Mastercard released a report titled ‘Connected Commerce: Creating a Roadmap for a Digitally Inclusive Bharat’.

About:

  • The report identifies challenges in accelerating digital financial inclusion in India and provides recommendations for making digital services accessible to its 1.3 billion citizens.

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Strengthening the payment infrastructure to promote a level playing field for NBFCs and banks.

  • Digitizing registration and compliance processes and diversifying credit sources to enable growth opportunities for MSMEs.

  • Building information sharing systems, including a ‘fraud repository’, and ensuring that online digital commerce platforms carry warnings to alert consumers to the risk of frauds.

  • Enabling agricultural NBFCs to access low-cost capital and deploy a ‘phygital’ (physical + digital) model for achieving better long-term digital outcomes. Digitizing land records will also provide a major boost to the sector.

  • To make city transit seamlessly accessible to all with minimal crowding and queues, leveraging existing smartphones and contactless cards, and aim for an inclusive, interoperable, and fully open system such as that of the London ‘Tube’.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

MOUNT SINABUNG
Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung, located in the North Sumatra province, erupted in May 2021 belching a massive column of volcanic ash and smoke 3,000 metres (3 km) into the sky.

About:

  • The volcano has been active since 2010 when it erupted after nearly 400 years of inactivity.

  • Indonesia is home to many active volcanoes owing to its location in the “Ring of Fire” or the Circum-Pacific Belt — an area along the Pacific Ocean characterised by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.

  • The Ring of Fire is home to about 75 per cent of the world’s volcanoes and about 90 per cent of earthquakes also occur here.

Important Info :

So, why does a volcano erupt?

  • Basically, there are three types of volcanoes — active, dormant or extinct.
  • An eruption takes place when magma (a thick flowing substance), that is formed when the earth’s mantle melts, rises to the surface.
  • As magma is lighter than rock, it is able to rise through vents and fissures on the surface of the earth. Following eruption, the magma is called lava.
  • When the magma is runny and thin, gases can easily escape it. In such cases, the magma will flow out towards the surface. However, if the magma is thick and dense and gases cannot escape it, it builds up pressure inside resulting in a violent explosion.
Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

LINEAMENT
An unfamiliar lineament is among four factors behind frequent earthquakes in northern Assam’s Sonitpur area.

About:

  • A lineament is a linear feature in a landscape dictated by an underlying geological structure such as a fault.

  • According to the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Sonitpur district lies within a tectonically complex triangular area bounded by the east-west trending Atherkhet Fault, the northwest-southeast trending Kopili Fault and a north-south trending lineament.

  • The two faults and the lineament, along with the oblique convergence of the Indian plate, have caused frequent earthquakes.

  • The National Centre of Seismology recorded 29 earthquakes of magnitude varying from 2.6 to 4.7 in Sonitpur after the 6.4 tremblor on April 28 that damaged several buildings, bridges and a river embankment.

  • The northeast is demarcated as Seismic Zone V, which indicates a zone with high vulnerability. The Indian plate is moving northeast toward the Eurasian plate in the Himalayan region, their oblique collision and release of stress and strain accumulated in the local tectonic or fault environments lead to earthquakes.

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

SOUTH SUDAN
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dissolved Parliament, opening the way for lawmakers from opposing sides of the country’s civil war to be appointed under a 2018 peace accord.

About:

  • The setting up of a new legislative body was part of an accord signed in September 2018 between Mr. Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar, for years on opposition sides during the five-year civil war that left 3,80,000 people dead and four million displaced.

  • In accordance with the 2018 accord, the new assembly will number 550 lawmakers, the majority — 332 — from Mr. Kiir’s governing SPLM party. The parliamentarians will be nominated by the different parties.

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • South Sudan is a landlocked country in east/central Africa.
  • It is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the north by Sudan, to the west by the Central African Republic, to the southwest by Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south by Uganda and to the southeast by Kenya.
  • It gained independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011, making it the most recent sovereign state or country with widespread recognition as of 2021.
  • Its capital is Juba.
  • It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal meaning "Mountain River".
  • The White Nile passes through the country, passing by Juba.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

S. JANAKIRAMAN ADVISORY GROUP
The Reserve Bank said an advisory group had been constituted to assist the second Regulatory Review Authority (RRA) which was set up by the central bank earlier this month to streamline regulations and reduce the compliance burden of regulated entities.

About:

  • Headed by SBI Managing Director S. Janakiraman, the group will assist the RRA by identifying regulations, guidelines, and returns that can be rationalised.

  • The group will assist the RRA by identifying areas, regulations, guidelines, returns which can be rationalised and submit reports periodically to RRA containing the recommendations/suggestions.

Important Info :
  • In 1999, the RBI had set up a Regulations Review Authority (RRA) for reviewing the regulations, circulars, reporting systems, based on the feedback from the public, banks, and financial institutions.
  • The RBI has set up the second Regulatory Review Authority (RRA 2.0), initially for a period of one year from May 01, 2021, with a view to streamline regulations and reduce the compliance burden of regulated entities.
  • Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor M Rajeshwar Rao was appointed as the Regulations Review Authority.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

PEGIDA
German intelligence services said they would widen their surveillance of Islamophobic protest movement Pegida in its home state of Saxony, as the group had become “extremist” and “anti-constitutional”.

About:

  • While Pegida had previously attracted “heterogeneous” support and taken “moderate” positions, it had developed “an increasingly right-wing extremist orientation”, Saxony’s domestic intelligence agency LfV said.

  • Pegida, which campaigns against what it calls the “Islamisation of the West”, was born in October 2014 with xenophobic marches every Monday evening.

  • Its protests gained momentum during the refugee crisis of 2015, when Germany became deeply polarised over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to keep the country’s doors open to asylum seekers.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

RUPSI AIRPORT
An airport built for warplanes in 1939 took commercial wings, heralding the best of times for western Assam’s Dhubri district.

About:

  • Rupsi airport near Gauripur, about 15 km from district headquarters Dhubri, was one of South Asia’s largest airports with a 1.8 km runway used by Allied aircraft for supplying arms, manpower and ammunition to forces in Burma and China during World War II.

  • Rupsi is Assam's 7th airport and 15th in the northeast including Pakyong in Sikkim. Commercial flights were allowed later.

  • India’s Partition in 1947 began eroding the airport’s importance. It was abandoned after the last flight — a Vayudoot from Dhubri to Guwahati — took off in 1983.

  • Flybig, an Indore-based company, would be operating the Kolkata-Guwahati-Rupsi flight under the subsidised UDAAN scheme for regional connectivity.

  • Rupsi is vital not only for western Assam. It used to and again will cater to the people of western Meghalaya, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts of West Bengal and south-western Bhutan, besides fuelling small-scale industries.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

SOCIALLY AND EDUCATIONALLY BACKWARD CLASSES (SEBC)
The supreme court said that the Centre alone is empowered to identify Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and include them in the Central List for claiming reservation benefits.

About:

  • The President (that is the Central government) alone, to the exclusion of all other authorities, is empowered to identify SEBCs and include them in a list to be published under Article 342A (1), which shall be deemed to include SEBCs in relation to each State and Union Territory for the purposes of the Constitution.

  • States could only make suggestions to the President or the statutory commissions concerned for inclusion, exclusion or modification of castes and communities to be included in the List.

  • The Central List is to be the “only list” for the SEBC.

  • Once published, under Article 342A (1), the list can only be amended through a law enacted by Parliament, by virtue of Article 342A (2).

  • In the task of identification of SEBCs, the President shall be guided by the Commission (National Commission for Backward Classes) set up under Article 338B; its advice shall also be sought by the State in regard to policies that might be framed by it.

  • If the commission prepares a report concerning matters of identification, such a report has to be shared with the State government, which is bound to deal with it, in accordance with provisions of Article 338B.

  • However, the final determination culminates in the exercise undertaken by the President (i.e., the Central Government, under Article 342A (1).

  • However, the President’s prerogative as far as the identification and inclusion of SEBCs in the List would not affect the States’ power to make reservations in favour of particular communities or castes within the ambit of Articles 15 and 16.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

AMPHOTERICIN B
Acute shortage of anti-fungal injection ‘amphotericin’ and other anti-fungal medicines used to treat mucormycosis, a life-threatening infection that follows Covid-19 in roughly 30% diabetics, is now adding to difficulties of patients.

About:

  • Amphotericin B injection is used to treat serious and potentially life-threatening fungal infections. Amphotericin B injection is in a class of medications called antifungals. It works by slowing the growth of fungi that cause infection.

  • It is typically given by injection into a vein.

  • Amphotericin B was isolated from Streptomyces nodosus in 1955 and came into medical use in 1958. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.

Source : Times of India
Health

Current Affairs
May 11, 2021

SINOPHARM
The World Health Organization approved the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — the first Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light.

About:

  • The UN health agency signed off on the two-dose vaccine, which is already being deployed in dozens of countries around the world.

  • The WHO has already given emergency use listing to the vaccines being made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J, and the AstraZeneca jab being produced at sites in India and in South Korea.

Important Info :

How does this vaccine work?

  • The Sinopharm vaccine is an inactivated coronavirus vaccine, like Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech India (BBIL) in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology (NIV).
  • Inactivated vaccines take the disease-carrying virus (in this case SARS-CoV-2) and kill it using heat, chemicals or radiation. WHO notes that these vaccines take longer to make and might need two or three doses to be administered. The flu and polio vaccines use this approach as well.
  • Out of the major vaccines being used in the world, Sinopharm, Covaxin and Sinovac (also developed by China) are the only ones that use inactivated virus. Others such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines, whereas Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sputnik and Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose vaccines use a viral vector.
Source : The Hindu
Health

May 10, 2021

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

HIMANTA BISWA SARMA
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the face of the BJP in Northeast India, will be sworn in as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam.

About:

  • His name was proposed by outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

  • BJP retained power in the state along with alliance partners Asom Gana Parishad and UPPL. Dr. Sarma was holding several important portfolios including Health and Finance in the Sarbananda Sonowal government.

  • As finance minister, Sarma earned Assam the distinction of being the first state to roll out the GST regime.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

MAHARANA PRATAP (1540 – 1597)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Maharana Partap on his birth anniversary.

About:

  • Pratap Singh popularly known as Maharana Pratap, was a king of Mewar, a region in the present day state of Rajasthan.

  • He was the eldest son of Udai Singh II (founder of city of Udaipur).

  • Battle of Haldighati: It was fought on 18 June 1576 between the forces Maharana Pratap; and the Mughal emperor Akbar's forces, led by Man Singh I of Amber. The Mughals were the victors but failed to capture Pratap, who escaped.

  • Resurgence: Mughal pressure on Mewar relaxed after 1579 following rebellions in Bengal and Bihar. Taking advantage of the situation, Pratap recovered Western Mewar including Kumbhalgarh, Udaipur and Gogunda. During this period, he also built a new capital, Chavand, near modern Dungarpur.

  • Chetak: Chetak is the name given in traditional literature to the horse ridden by Maharana Pratap at the Battle of Haldighati. However, some Historians debate it. According to tradition, Chetak, although wounded, carried Pratap safely away from the battle, but then died of his wounds. The story is recounted in court poems of Mewar from the 17th century onwards.

  • Pratap Gaurav Kendra: It is a tourist spot at Tiger Hill in Udaipur city, Rajasthan. It aims at providing information about Maharana Pratap and the historical heritage of the area with the help of modern technology.

Source : The Hindu
History

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

GOPAL KRISHNA GOKHALE
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Freedom Fighter and social reformer Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his birth anniversary.

About:

  • Indian National Congress (INC)
    • Gokhale became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1889. He was the leader of the moderate faction of the Congress party.

    • In 1905, he was elected president of the Indian National Congress (Benares Session).

    • He played a leading role in bringing about Morley-Minto Reforms, the beginning of constitutional reforms in India.



  • Member in British India Legislature: In 1899, Gokhale was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council and in 1901 he was elected to the Imperial Council of the Governor-General of India.

  • Servants of India Society: It was formed by him in Pune (Maharashtra) in 1905 to further the expansion of education in India. The Society organised mobile libraries, founded schools, and provided night classes for factory workers.

  • Ranade Institute of Economics: In 1908, he founded the 'Ranade Institute of Economics'.

  • Mentor to Gandhi: In his autobiography, Gandhi calls Gokhale his mentor and guide. In 1912, Gokhale visited South Africa at Gandhi's invitation. He received personal guidance from Gokhale, including a knowledge and understanding of India and the issues confronting common Indians.

  • Hitavad: He launched the English weekly newspaper named The Hitavad (The people's paper) in 1911.

Source : The Hindu
History

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

AZAD HIND SARKAR
Freedom fighter and veteran of the erstwhile Indian National Army (INA) Lalti Ram passed away. He was 100.

About:

  • In 2019, Lalti Ram had presented a cap of the pre-Independence INA to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the ‘Azad Hind Sarkar’ by freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose.

  • The Provisional Government of Free India (Arzi Hakumat-e-Azad Hind) or, more simply, Azad Hind, was an Indian Provisional government established in Japanese occupied Singapore during World War II.

  • It was created in October 1943 and supported by – as well as largely dependent on – the Empire of Japan.

  • It was established by Indian nationalists in exile during the latter part of the Second World War in Singapore with monetary, military and political assistance from Imperial Japan.

  • the government was inspired by the concepts of Subhas Chandra Bose who was also the leader of the government and Head of State.

  • Its army, the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj), went into action against the British Indian Army and the allied forces as part of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector.

  • The INA had its first major engagement at the Battle of Imphal where, under the command of the Japanese Fifteenth Army, it breached the British defences in Kohima, reaching the salient of Moirang before suffering a catastrophic defeat.

  • The death of Bose is seen as the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement.

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

2021 LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS
Spain’s Rafael Nadal was named the 2021 Laureus Sportsman of the year, while fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka won the top women’s honour.

About:

  • Japan’s Osaka won her second U.S. Open title last year, while Nadal equalled Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles by claiming his 13th French Open crown.

  • Nadal picked up his fourth Laureus honour, having previously scooped the Breakthrough, Comeback and men’s individual awards.

  • German soccer champions Bayern Munich, who won last season’s Champions League, was named the Team of the Year.

  • Britain’s Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed the inaugural Athlete Advocate of the Year Award for his involvement in the fight against racism.

  • Tennis legend Billie Jean King was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Laureus Academy.

Important Info :
  • The Laureus World Sports Awards is an annual award ceremony honouring individuals and teams from the world of sports along with sporting achievements throughout the year. It was established in 1999 by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

CBSE DOST FOR LIFE
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched a new mobile application for psycho social wellness of students and parents.

About:

  • The new app namely CBSE Dost for Life has been designed for students of classes 9 to 12 and it can be used for counselling sessions from 10th of this month.

  • Making a departure from the existing practice of counselling through toll free number across the country, board has designed this facility for the ease, convenience and utility of students and parents with in the safe home environment.

  • Through this app, live counselling sessions will be conducted free of cost on Monday, Wednesday and Friday by the trained counsellors.

  • The app will also provide students information on suggestive course guides after ten plus two, tips on mental health and well-being, a corona guide and rap songs.

Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

LONG MARCH 5B ROCKET
Debris from a Chinese rocket made an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean, with remnants falling at a location to the west of Maldives.

About:

  • The debris came from the upper stage of a Long March 5B rocket– China’s largest– that had been launched into space on April 29 for putting into orbit a core module of the new Tianhe space station, which is expected to become operational in 2022.

  • For days, there had been speculation on whether the debris would hit a populated area on the Earth’s surface, leading NASA to criticise China over lack of transparency and for “failing to meet responsible standards”.

Why did the Chinese rocket spark worry?

  • When a rocket is launched, its discarded booster stages re-enter the atmosphere soon after liftoff and harmlessly fall into the ocean– a standard practice.

  • In this case, however, a 10-floor large vehicle of the rocket weighing 18 metric tonnes went into orbit along with the section of the under-construction space station that it was carrying.

  • While in orbit, this vehicle kept rubbing against the air at the top of the atmosphere, and the resulting friction caused it to start losing altitude. The piece hurtled through a low-Earth orbit at roughly 25,490 km/hr.

  • An “uncontrolled re-entry” thus became inevitable, but China did not admit this fact to the world until Sunday, when it said the debris had entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Mediterranean, flown over the Arabian peninsula and crashed near the Maldives at 72.47° East and 2.65° North.

  • Few expected the debris to harm humans, mainly due to most of it burning up in the atmosphere, as well as the fact that large parts of the Earth are covered by oceans and massive land areas lie uninhabited.

So, what caused the rocket piece to enter into orbit?

  • When rockets carry their payload into space, their booster stages that reach orbit fire the engine again after completing their job so as to drop back to Earth and not remain in orbit.

  • Space agencies plan this process to ensure that such rocket parts end up in uninhabited areas, such as the middle of the ocean.

  • China chose not to do this for its Long March rocket, leading to its vehicle crashing back uncontrollably. China’s plan to launch 10 more missions like this until 2022 to complete the Tianhe has thus sparked worry that pieces from its rockets could end up causing injuries.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

SOCIAL STOCK EXCHANGES (SSES)
A technical group on social stock exchanges (SSEs), constituted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has recommended that political and religious organisations, trade organisations as well as corporate foundations should not be allowed to raise funds through SSEs.

About:

  • Pursuant to an announcement made by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech for FY 2019-20 regarding Social Stock Exchanges SEBI had constituted a Working group and later a technical group under the chairmanship of Harsh Bhanwala, former chairman of NABARD.

  • The technical group report said both For Profit Enterprise (FPE) and Not for Profit Organisation (NPO) will be eligible to tap the SSE if they are able to show their primary goals are social intent and impact.

  • Corporate foundations, political or religious organizations/ activities, professional or trade associations, infrastructure and housing companies (except affordable housing) will not be permitted on SSE.

  • SSE are engaged in at least one of the 15 broad eligible activities. They target underserved or less privileged population segments or regions; and should have at least 67 per cent of its activities qualifying as eligible activities to the target population.

  • The report has also made a list of eligible activities that social enterprises can engage in such as eradicating hunger, poverty malnutrition and inequality; training to promote rural sports; promoting gender equality by empowerment of women and LGBTQIA+ communities; slum area development/ affordable housing; forest and wildlife conservation; promoting livelihoods for rural and urban poor; promotion of financial inclusion among others. 

Important Info :

The panel has recommended different modes of fund raising for NPOs and FPEs.

  • For NPOs it has recommended fundraising through “equity, zero coupon zero principal bond, development impact bonds, social impact fund with 100 per cent grants-in grants out provision, and donations by investors through mutual funds”.
  • For FPEs it has recommended fundraising through equity, debt, development impact bonds, and social venture funds. 
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

EXO-CD24
A new coronavirus treatment being developed in Israel's Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center has successfully completed phase one trials and appears to have helped numerous moderate-to-serious cases of COVID-19 quickly recover from the disease.

About:

  • Hailing the treatment as a huge breakthrough, the hospital has said that the EXO-CD24 substance had been administered to 30 patients whose conditions were moderate or worse.

  • It added that all 30 recovered with 29 of them getting well within just three to five days.

  • The medicine is reported to fight the cytokine storm, which is a potentially lethal immune overreaction to the coronavirus infection that is believed to be responsible for much of the deaths associated with the disease.

Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
May 10, 2021

RAGHUNATH MOHAPATRA
Eminent sculptor and Rajya Sabha member Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra passed away while undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

About:

  • Raghunath Mohapatra (1943 – 2021) was an architect, sculptor, and a Nominated Member of Rajya Sabha.

  • He was nominated by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as a Member of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in 2000.

Important Info :

Awards

  • Padma Vibhushan, 2013
  • Padma Bhushan, 2001
  • Padma Shri, 1976
  • National Award for Sculpture, 1964
Source : The Hindu
Culture
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