June 15, 2021

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

RARE EARTHS
The U.S. Senate passed a law aimed at boosting American production and processing of rare earths. In 2019, the U.S. imported 80% of its rare earth minerals from China, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

About:

  • These are a set of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the 15 lanthanides plus scandium (Atomic Number 21) and Yttrium (Atomic Number 39).

  • Lanthanide series comprises the 15 metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers 57 through 71, from lanthanum through lutetium.

  • Scandium and yttrium are considered rare-earth elements because they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties, but have different electronic and magnetic properties.

  • Cerium (AN 58) is the most abundant rare earth metal.

  • Why these elements called as RARE? There is no shortage of rare earths. But their extraction is difficult (Requires high skill, Capital intensive, Environmental issues).

  • 2 main ore of extractions are Monazite and Bastansite.

  • Properties: Their colour ranges from Shiny Silver to Iron Gray. They are soft, malleable, ductile and usually reactive, especially at elevated temperatures or when finely divided.

  • Its application ranges from Civilian (smartphones, laptops, petroleum refining catalysts) to military including nuclear applications. Rare minerals that are essential to electric vehicles, wind turbines and drones.

  • China has the largest reserve (37 percent), followed by Brazil and Vietnam (18 percent each), Russia (15 percent), and the remaining countries (12 percent). Deng Xiaoping said once, The Middle East has oil and China has rare earth.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

SPACE TOURISM
Last week, Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos’s space company called Blue Origin concluded the online auction for the first seat on New Shephard, a rocket system meant to take tourists to space. The seat went for a winning bid of $28 million.

Blue origin

  • Blue Origin is an American privately funded aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company headquartered in Kent, Washington.

  • it was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.

New Shephard

  • New Shepard is blue origin’s reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.

  • New Shephard has been named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shephard – the first American to go to space.

Important Info :

Alan Shephard

  • Alan Shepard was an American astronaut.
  • In 1961, he became the second man and the first American to travel into space, and in 1971, he walked on the Moon.
  • Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, running from 1958 through 1963.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

OPEN SOCIETIES STATEMENT
India signed off on a joint statement by G-7 and guest countries on “open societies”.

About:

  • The ‘Open Societies Statement’ was adopted at the end of an G7 outreach session titled ‘Building Back Together—Open Societies and Economies’, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited as a lead speaker.

  • The joint statement was signed by the G-7 countries, and India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa, with host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling them “Democracies 11”.

Important Info :

Features

  • This statement reaffirm the values of “freedom of expression, both online and offline, as a freedom that safeguards democracy”.
  • The statement also refers to “politically motivated internet shutdowns” as one of the threats to freedom and democracy.
  • It also affirmed “human rights for all, both online and offline, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments, and opposition to any form of discrimination, so that everyone can participate fully and equally in society”.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

NAFTALI BENNETT
Naftali Bennett was sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Israel.

About:

  • Former defence minister and high-tech millionaire, Bennett, a 49-year-old leader of the right-wing Yamina party, took oath of office after the Israeli parliament Knesset elected him as the 13th Prime Minister by a 60-59 vote in the 120-member house.

  • An eight-party alliance, ranging from the right-wing Jewish Nationalist Yamina party to Arab lawmakers, was formed early this month by centrist politician Yair Lapid centrist and ultra-nationalist Bennett.

  • Mr Bennett will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal. He will then hand power over to Yair Lapid for a further two years.

  • His victory ended the 12-year power of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving leader.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

FOREX RESERVES
India’s foreign exchange reserves crossed the $600 billion mark for the first time after rising by $6.842 billion in the week ended on June 4. Forex reserves rose to a record $605.008 billion in the reporting week, helped by a rise in Foreign Currency Assets (FCA), a major component of the overall reserves.

Countries with the highest foreign reserves according to IMF (June 13, 2021)

  1. China – $3,330 Billion

  2. Japan – $1,378 Billion

  3. Switzerland – $1,070 Billion

  4. Russia – $605.200 Billion

  5. India – $605.008 Billion

What is it?

  • Foreign-exchange reserves (also called forex reserves or FX reserves) are reserve assets held by a central bank in foreign currencies.

  • They are used to back liabilities on their own issued currency, support the exchange rate and set monetary policy.

  • Components: India’s foreign exchange reserves comprise
    • Foreign currency assets (FCAs). These are maintained in currencies like US dollar, euro, pound sterling, Australian dollar and Japanese yen.

    • Gold

    • SDR (special drawing rights) in IMF: This is the reserve CURRENCY with IMF

    • RTP (reserve tranche position) in IMF: This is the reserve CAPITAL with IMF



Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

INTEGRATED FOOD SECURITY PHASE CLASSIFICATION (IPC)
UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said Tigray region of Ethiopia is witnessing widespread famine. According to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, famine conditions in Tigray are in phase 5 with 350,000 people out of Tigray’s 6 million population are experiencing famine.

IPC scale

  • The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), also known as IPC scale, is a tool for improving food security analysis and decision-making.

  • It is a standardised scale that integrates food security, nutrition and livelihood information into a statement about the nature and severity of a crisis and implications for strategic response.

  • The IPC was originally developed for use in Somalia by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU).

IPC scale: The following table includes a summary of the IPC scale -

  1. Phase 1: Generally Food Secure (More than 80% of households can meet basic food needs without atypical coping strategies)

  2. Phase 2: Borderline Food Insecure (For at least 20 percent of households, food consumption is reduced but is minimally adequate)

  3. Phase 3: Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis (At least 20 percent of households have significant food consumption gaps. Levels of acute malnutrition are high and above normal)

  4. Phase 4: Humanitarian Emergency (At least 20 percent of households face extreme food consumption gaps, resulting in very high levels of acute malnutrition and excess mortality)

  5. Phase 5: Famine/Humanitarian Catastrophe (At least 20 percent of households face a complete lack of food and/or other basic needs and starvation, death, and destitution are evident; and acute malnutrition prevalence exceeds 30%; and mortality rates exceed 2/10000/day)

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

IDEX - DIO
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the budgetary support of ₹498.8 crore to Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) - Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) for the next five years.

About:

  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) was launched by the Government of India in 2018.

  • iDEX will be funded and managed by a ‘Defence Innovation Organization (DIO)’ which has been formed as a ‘not for profit’ company as per Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 by the two founder members i.e. Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) - HAL & BEL alongwith the Department of Defence Production (DDP).

  • iDEX will function as the executive arm of DIO, carrying out all the required activities while DIO will provide high level policy guidance to iDEX.

  • The iDEX framework and establishment of the DIO is aimed at promoting innovation and indigenisation in the aerospace and defence sector at the start-up level. The scheme is aimed at providing financial support to nearly 300 start-ups, MSME, individual innovators and 20 partner incubators.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

EXPORTS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has said, India has registered tremendous growth in agriculture exports during the last financial year.

About:

  • Exports of agriculture and allied products including marine and plantation products jumped to 41.25 billion US dollars and registered an increase of 17.34 per cent during the fiscal year 2020-21.

  • Products: Huge growth has been witnessed in export of cereals like non-basmati rice, wheat, millets, maize and other agricultural products.

  • Export destinations
    • The products were exported to 58 destinations around the world.

    • Largest markets for country’s agricultural products are the USA, China, Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran and Malaysia.

    • Highest growth in export has been recorded for Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal.



Important Info :

Organic products

  • Organic exports registered a whopping growth of nearly 51 per cent during the 2020-21 fiscal year. Exports of organic products registered a surge of $1,040 million in the last fiscal as compared to $689 million a year ago, leading to an increase in overall agricultural exports.
  • In quantitative terms, the exports of organic products grew by 39 per cent, from 6,38,998 to 8,88,179 tonnes in the last fiscal year.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

PYROSTRIA LALJII
A 15-metre-tall tree that belongs to the genus of the coffee family has recently been discovered from the Andaman Islands.

About:

  • Regions in India: The new species, Pyrostria laljii was first reported from the Wandoor forest in South Andaman. The other places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the tree could be located are the Tirur forest near the Jarawa Rerserve Forest and the Chidia Tapu (Munda Pahar) forest.

  • Global distribution: The new species is also the first record of the genus Pyrostria in India. Plants belonging to genus Pyrostria are usually found in Madagascar.

  • Features: The tree is distinguished by a long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk and oblong-obovate leaves with a cuneate base. Other physical features that distinguish the tree from other species of the genus is its umbellate inflorescence with eight to 12 flowers.

  • IUCN status: Pyrostria laljii has been assessed as ‘Critically Endangered’ based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List criteria.

  • Name: The species has been named Pyrostria laljii after Lal Ji Singh, Joint Director and Head of Office, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, Botanical Survey of India.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
June 15, 2021

PROJECT O2 for INDIA
The Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India has launched ‘Project O2 for India’. Its objective is to enable stakeholders working to augment the country’s ability to meet the rise in demand for medical oxygen.

Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India

  • In November 1999, Cabinet Secretariat established the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

  • The PSA’s office aims to provide pragmatic and objective advice to the Prime Minister and cabinet on matters related to science, technology and innovation with a focus on application of science and technology in critical infrastructure, economic and social sectors in partnership with Government departments, institutions and industry.

  • The first PSA was APJ Abdul Kalam and the current PSA is K. VijayRaghavan.

  • The 9 member Prime Minister’s Science, Technology And Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) is headed by Government of India’s Principal Scientific Adviser to (K. Vijay Raghavan).

Source : Economic Times
Health

June 14, 2021

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

OPERATION OLIVIA
Every year, the Indian Coast Guard’s “Operation Olivia”, initiated in the early 1980s, helps protect Olive Ridley turtles as they congregate along the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting from November to December.

About:

  • Round-the-clock surveillance is conducted from November till May utilising Coast Guard assets such as fast patrol vessels, air cushion vessels, interceptor craft and Dornier aircraft to enforce laws near the rookeries.

  • The Orissa Marine Fisheries Act empowers the Coast Guard as one of its enforcement agencies.

  • The Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is listed as vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list.

  • All five species of sea turtles found in India are included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and in the Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which prohibits trade in turtle products by signatory countries.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

RAMAKRISHNA MISSION
PM Modi expressed grief over the demise of Swami Shivamayanandaji Maharaj, vice-president of Ramakrishna Math and mission.

About:

  • Ramakrishna Mission (RKM) is a Hindu religious and spiritual organisation which forms the core of a worldwide spiritual movement known as the Ramakrishna Movement or the Vedanta Movement.

  • The mission is named after and inspired by the Indian saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and founded by Ramakrishna's chief disciple Swami Vivekananda on 1 May 1897.

  • The headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are situated at an area named Belur in the district of Howrah, West Bengal, India. The entire campus of the headquarters is popularly known as ‘Belur Math’.

  • Vedanta (also known as Uttara Mīmāṃsā) is one of the six (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Literally meaning "end of the Vedas", Vedanta reflects ideas that emerged from the philosophies contained in the Upanishads.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

BHARITALASUCHUS TAPANI
In the mid 20th century, researchers from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, carried out extensive studies on rocks of the Yerrapalli Formation in what is now Telangana, uncovering several fossils.

About:

  • By studying some of these specimens stored at the Institute, an international team has now thrown light on a carnivorous reptile that lived 240 million years ago.

  • They named it Bharitalasuchus tapani.

  • In the Telugu language, Bhari means huge, Tala means head, and Suchus is the name of the Egyptian crocodile-headed deity.

  • The species is named after paleontologist Tapan Roy Chowdhury in honour of his extensive work on the Yerrapalli Formation tetrapod fauna.

  • This reptile belonged to a family of extinct reptiles named Erythrosuchidae.

  • Bharitalasuchus tapani were robust animals with big heads and large teeth, and these probably predated other smaller reptiles. They were approximately the size of an adult male lion and might have been the largest predators in their ecosystems.

Important Info :

Yerrapalli Formation

  • The Yerrapalli Formation is a Triassic rock formation consisting primarily of mudstones that outcrops in the Pranhita–Godavari Basin in Telangana.
Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

RECOMMENDATIONS OF 44TH GST COUNCIL MEETING
The 44th GST Council met under the Chairmanship of Union Finance Minister. The Council in its meeting has decided to reduce the GST rates on various items being used in Covid-19 relief and management till 30th September, 2021.

Key highlights

  • It decided to waive the tax levied on two critical drugs against COVID-19 and mucormycosis — tocilizumab and amphotericin B — and reset the tax rate to 5% for 14 major pandemic relief items, till September 30.

  • The 5% GST levied on vaccines was left unchanged.

  • The GST rate on Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin has been reduced from 12% to 5%.

  • Ambulances, which are currently taxed at 28%, will attract a GST levy of 12%, while temperature checking equipment and electric furnaces used in crematoriums will attract a 5% GST instead of 18%.

  • For oxygen concentrators, medical grade oxygen and related devices such as ventilators, BiPAP machines, the GST rate has also been brought down to 5% from 12%.

  • The same reduction has been approved in the levies on COVID-testing kits and pulse oximeters.

  • The 5% rate will apply to personal imports of oxygen concentrators as well as pulse oximeters, while the 18% GST payable on hand sanitisers has been reduced to 5%.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

CHILD LABOUR
On the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour, Union MCD minister appealed to Citizens to report the instances of Child Labour on PENCIL Portal or by calling on Childline-1098.

World Day Against Child Labour

  • The World Day Against Child Labour is observed on 12thJune every year around the world.

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.

  • The 2021 World Day Against Child Labour focuses on action taken for the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. It is the first World Day since the universal ratification of the ILO’s Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

  • Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls for ending child labour in all its forms by 2025. 

Important Info :

PENCIL PORTAL

  • Full Name: Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour (PENCIL).
  • Launched in: 2017.
  • Launched by: The Ministry of Labour and Employment
  • Objective: It is a separate online portal to ensure effective enforcement of the provisions of the Child Labour Act and smooth implementation of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme.
  • Components: The PENCIL Portal (pencil.gov.in) has various components, namely Child Tracking System, Complaint Corner, State Government, National Child Labour Project and Convergence.
Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

BORDER ROADS ORGANISATION (BRO)
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh inaugurated two Centres of Excellence established by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at Seema Sadak Bhawan in New Delhi.

About:

  • The Centre of Excellence for Road Safety & Awareness (CoERSA) aims to create awareness about road safety through analysis sharing of road accidents and suggesting methods to save precious lives.

  • The Centre of Excellence for Roads, Bridges, Air Fields and Tunnels (CoERBAT) aims to foster growth in construction of roads, bridges, air fields and tunnels. 

Important Info :

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is a road construction executive force in India.
  • BRO develops and maintains road networks in India's border areas and friendly neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka.
  • The BRO was formed on 7 May 1960.
  • BRO has been entirely brought under the Ministry of Defence in 2015. Earlier it was under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • The executive head of the BRO is the Director General Border Roads (DGBR) who holds the rank of Lieutenant General. 
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

UMLING LA
Raksha Mantri flagged off the first ever Solo Woman Motorcycle Expedition by Ms Kanchan Ugursandi to Umling La Pass, Ladakh and back.

About:

  • Umling La Pass, located at an altitude of 19,300ft, has overtaken Khardung La Pass to become the highest motorable road in the world.

  • The construction of this road has been achieved by the BRO (Border Road Organization) as part of “Project Himank”

  • Umling La Pass, stretching to a distance of almost 86km, connects Chisumle and Demchok villages. Both these villages lie in close proximity to the Indo-China border in the eastern sector.

Source : PIB
Geography

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL
Britain and the EU are locked in an escalating diplomatic feud over Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that borders the 27-nation bloc. The EU says Britain must fully implement the agreement, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, that the two sides agreed and ratified.

About:

  • It came into force on 1 January 2021, and is now part of international law.

  • Under the protocol, both sides agreed that, even though Northern Ireland was no longer part of the EU, it would continue to follow many of its rules.

  • This would enable lorries to continue driving across the land border without being inspected.

  • Meanwhile, England, Scotland and Wales are no longer following those rules - leading to a new "regulatory" border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • New checks on goods now need to be carried out when they enter Northern Ireland from England, Scotland or Wales.

  • Inspections take place at Northern Ireland ports, and customs documents have to be filled in. 

Important Info :
  • Geographically, Northern Ireland is part of Ireland. Politically, it’s part of the United Kingdom. 
Source : outlook
International

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

DECLASSIFICATION & COMPILATION OF WAR/OPERATIONS HISTORIES
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has approved the policy on archiving, declassification and compilation/publication of war/operations histories by the Ministry of Defence.

Features of Policy

  • Each organisation under the Ministry of Defence will transfer the records, including war diaries to the History Division of Ministry of Defence (MoD) for proper upkeep, archival and writing the histories.

  • According to the policy, records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years.

  • Records older than 25 years should be appraised by archival experts and transferred to the National Archives of India once the war/operations histories have been compiled.

  • Committee headed by Joint Secretary, MoD and comprising of representatives of the Services, MEA, MHA and other organisations and prominent military historians (if required) should be constituted for compilation of war/ operations histories.

  • War/operations histories to be compiled within 5 years
    • The above-mentioned Committee should be formed within two years of completion of war/operations.

    • Thereafter, collection of records and compilation should be completed in three years and disseminated to all concerned. 



Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 14, 2021

BEML
BEML said that Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) and NITI Aayog have agreed to the proposal of incorporation of wholly-owned subsidiary of BEML for demerger of surplus land and asset as part of BEML's strategic disinvestment process undertaken by Government of India.

About:

  • BEML, formerly Bharat Earth Movers Ltd, was established in 1964 as a Public Sector Undertaking for manufacture of rail coaches and spare parts and mining equipment at its Bangalore complex.

  • The company has partially disinvested and presently the government owns 54 per cent of total equity and rest 46 per cent is held by public, financial institutions, foreign institutional investors, banks and employees.

  • BEML serves the country's core sectors like defence, rail, power, mining and infrastructure. BEML is one of the leading manufacturers of rail and metro coaches.

  • It is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Economy

June 13, 2021

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

CENTRAL ATHLETE INJURY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Central Athlete Injury Management System (CAIMS).

About:

  • It is a first-of-its-kind initiative by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

  • It is for streamlining the sports medicine and rehabilitation support offered to the athletes for Olympics 2024 and beyond.

  • CAIMS aims to provide the best of sports injury management support nearest to the athlete’s geographical location. CAIMS will help to standardize appropriate injury treatment protocol for athletes across the country.

  • It will start with support for athletes who are a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) development group expected to participate in 2024 and beyond.

  • CAIMS will have the following four structures: Athlete Wellness Cell, On-Field Sports Medicine Experts, National Resource Referral Teams and a Central Core Team.

  • The core committee of CAIMS includes eminent top of the line experts such as Dr. SKS Marya, Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala, Dr. BV Srinivas and Shrikant Iyengar.

Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

EnVision MISSION
Following NASA’s footsteps, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that it has selected EnVision as its next orbiter that will visit Venus sometime in the 2030s.

So what is EnVision?

  • EnVision is an ESA led mission with contributions from NASA. It is likely to be launched sometime in the 2030s.

  • The earliest launch opportunity for EnVision is 2031, followed by 2032 and 2033. Once launched on an Ariane 6 rocket, the spacecraft will take about 15 months to reach Venus and will take 16 more months to achieve orbit circularisation.

  • The spacecraft will carry a range of instruments to study the planet’s atmosphere and surface, monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyse its surface composition. A radar provided by NASA will help to image and map the surface.

  • At the core of the ESA’s mission is the question of how Earth and Venus evolved so differently from each other considering that they are roughly of the same size and composition.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

ITALIAN MARINES CASE / ENRICA LEXIE CASE
The Central government informed the Supreme Court on that Italy had paid ₹10 crore compensation for disbursal among the families of fishermen shot dead/injured by two Italian marines detailed on Enrica Lexie, an Italian-flagged vessel in 2012, who mistook them for pirates off the coast of Kerala.

What is the Italian Marines case?

  • On February 15, 2012, two Indian fishermen returning from a fishing expedition near Lakshadweep islands onboard fishing vessel St Antony were gunned down by two Italian marines on board oil tanker Enrica Lexie.

  • The incident occurred around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Kerala. Shortly after the incident, the Indian Coast Guard intercepted Enrica Lexie and detained the two Italian marines— Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre.

  • Following this, the Kerala Police registered an FIR against them for murder and arrested them. 

Important Info :

March 2021 verdict by Supreme Court

  • In March 2021, the Supreme Court said that the case against two Italian marines who gunned down two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in February, 2012, will be closed only after Italy deposits with it Rs 10 crore as compensation to victims.
  • The apex court has said that Rs 4 crore each out of the compensation will go to the next of kin of the two fishermen while Rs 2 crore will be given to the owner of the fishing vessel in which they were travelling.
  • The compensation is a mutually agreed amount between India and Italy in terms of the award by an international tribunal.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

BRU
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought replies from the Forest Department and a district administration in Tripura on a complaint that Bru refugees from adjoining Mizoram were being resettled in a forest.

Bru Tribe:

  • Residence: The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the north-eastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram. In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.

  • Culture: They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is locally referred to as Kau Bru. Their Hojagiri folk dance is well known all over the world. 'Buisu', not 'bihu' is the most popular festival of Reang tribes. 

Important Info :

Conflict in Mizoram:

  • In 1995, Mizos, the majority tribe of the Mizoram, demanded that Brus be left out of the state’s electoral rolls as they contended that they are not indigenous to Mizoram.
  • In 1997, ethnic violence forced the Brus to flee the state in large numbers to neighbouring Tripura. Currently, around 40,000 Bru refugees are living in Tripura camps.
  • In June 2018, community leaders from the Bru camps signed an agreement in Delhi with the Centre and the two state governments, providing for repatriation in Mizoram. But most camp residents rejected the agreement as the package does not guarantee their safety in Mizoram.
  • About 7,000 refugees returned to Mizoram after nine phases of repatriation till November 30, 2019. The rest stayed put citing security reasons.
  • The repatriation stalemate ended with the signing of the quadripartite agreement on in January 16, 2020, among representatives of Brus, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Tripura and Mizoram governments.
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

TOTAL FERTILITY RATE
The Assam unit of the Congress has slammed Chief Minister for asking a minority community to adopt population control measures to prevent encroachment and pressure on land resources. It cited the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) released in December 2020, which said the total fertility rate (TFR) declined across most Indian States in the last five years.

About:

  • The total fertility rate is defined as the average number of children that would be born to a woman by the time she ends childbearing.

  • According to the UN Population Division, a total fertility rate (TFR) of about 2.1 children per woman is called replacement-level fertility.

  • The fertility rate of less than 2.1 implies that the total population will be less than the existing population which is also called the negative growth rate.

  • The same survey said the fertility rate of women in Assam declined from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 1.9 in 2020-21, which means the future population of Assam will only be less than the current population. Hence there is no question of an increase in population.

Important Info :

Indicators of fertility

  • High fertility: Total fertility levels above 5 children per woman.
  • Replacement-level fertility: Total fertility levels of about 2.1 children per woman.
  • Below-replacement fertility: Total fertility levels below 2.1 children per woman.
  • Very low fertility: Total fertility levels below 1.3 children per woman. 
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

TURMERIC
Women growing turmeric in Odisha’s Koraput district appear to have found a foot-hold in a market that promises perennial return for their organic crop. The turmeric grown in Laxmipur block of Koraput district is distinct as it contains curcumin between 5.5% and 6.66%.

About:

  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is, a perennial herbaceous plant of the ginger family. The plant’s underground stems or rhizomes have been used as spice, dye, medicine and religious maker since antiquity.

  • The spice’s colour comes mainly from curcumin, a bright yellow phenolic compound that has been in the news for its ostensible potential to fight cancer. As a result, the demand for turmeric with high curcumin content has risen.

  • India is the world’s largest producer of Turmeric.

  • Telangana followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and odisha are largest producers in India.

  • ‘Kandhamal Haldi’ (a variety of turmeric indigenous to southern Odisha) and Erode turmeric (grown in the entire Erode district of Tamil Nadu) have earned the GI tag. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

ASHOK PANAGARIYA
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the demise of noted neurologist Dr. Ashok Panagariya.

About:

  • Ashok Panagariya (1950 – 2021) was an Indian neurologist known for his research on nerve cells and neuromyotonia.

  • He was a Vice Chancellor of Rajasthan University of Health Sciences, Jaipur and a member of the Planning Board of the Government of Rajasthan.

Neuromyotonia (NMT)

  • Neuromyotonia (NMT) is a form of peripheral nerve hyperexcitability that causes spontaneous muscular activity resulting from repetitive motor unit action potentials of peripheral origin.

  • NMT along with Morvan's syndrome are the most severe types in the Peripheral Nerve Hyperexciteability spectrum. 

Important Info :

Awards

  • A recipient of prestigious Dr. B. C. Roy Award, the highest Indian award in the medical  category.
  • Ashok Panagariya was awarded Padma Shri in 2014.
  • He was also a recipient of the UNESCO Award for medical/social contributions. 
Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

SIDDALINGAIAH
Siddalingaiah died on 11 June 2021 in Bangalore, due to post Covid-19 illness.

About:

  • Siddalingaiah (1954 - 2021), was an Indian poet and playwright writing in the Kannada language.

  • He was a Dalit activist acknowledged as a symbol of the Dalit movement.

  • He is credited with starting the Dalit-Bandaya movement in Kannada and with starting the genre of Dalit writing. He is one of the founders of the Dalita Sangharsh Samiti along with B. Krishnappa.

  • In 1988, at the age of 34, he became a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council, serving till 2001. He has been head of the Department of Kannada at Bangalore University and a member of the University Syndicate of Kannada University, Hampi. 

Important Info :

Awards

  • His book Ooru Keri - An Autobiography won the Sahitya Akademi award for 2003.
  • In 2019, he was awarded Pampa Award, highest literary award in Kannada, presented by Karnataka Government.
  • 1986 - Rajyostava Award by Karnataka Government
Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

PROF RADHAMOHAN
PM Modi condoled the demise of Noted economist-turned-environmentalist Prof Radhamohan.

About:

  • He had made a distinguished contribution to sustainable organic farming in the state of Odisha.

  • He alongwith his daughter had transformed 36 acres of a degraded land in Nayagarh district of Odisha into a ‘food forest’, as was called by Prof Radhamohan, through soil and water conservation techniques. The ‘food forest’ now has over 1,000 species of plants, 500 varieties of rice and supports a seed bank with 700 indigenous varieties of seeds.

  • Besides, he had started Sambhav, a resource centre for farmers across the country, to exchange seeds and train them in organic farming. 

Important Info :

Awards

  • Prof Radhamohan and his daughter Sabarmatee were awarded Padma Shri, last year along for their contribution to the field of agriculture.
  • For his work on environment, the United Nations Environment Programme had conferred ‘The Global Roll of Honour’ on him.
  • The Odisha government awarded him the highest civilian award ‘Utkal Seva Samman’ for dedicated public service. 
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
June 13, 2021

ISLAMIC STATE IN KHORASAN PROVINCE (ISKP)
The four Indian women lodged in an Afghanistan prison, who accompanied their husbands to join the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), are unlikely to be allowed to return to the country.

About:

  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP) is a branch of the militant Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • Some media sources also use the terms ISK, ISISK, IS-KP, or ISIS-K in referring to the group.

  • Its main activity is in the border region of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. However, its area of operations also includes other parts of South Asia, such as India where individuals have pledged allegiance to it.

  • Khorasan (also transcribed as Khurasan and Khorassan) was a province in north eastern Iran, but historically referred to a much larger area comprising the east and north-east of the Persian Empire.

  • Formation: Mainly comprising defectors from Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), the Wilayat Khorasan of Islamic State in Afghanistan came into existence in 2015. Senior government officials however maintain that ISKP is run by Pakistan’s Inter State Intelligence.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

June 12, 2021

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

HERITAGE TREES
The Maharashtra government will make amendments to the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act of 1975, to introduce provisions for the protection of ‘heritage trees’.

About:

  • Under the proposed amendment, a tree with an estimated age of 50 years or more shall be defined as a heritage tree.

  • It may belong to specific species, which will be notified from time to time.

  • In addition to the age, the state climate change department (which will be implementing the Tree Act), will also consider a tree’s rarity, its botanical, historical, religious, mythological and cultural importance in defining a heritage tree.

  • The local Tree Authority will have to ensure tree census to be carried out every five years along with counting of heritage trees.

Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

CANADIAN HYDROGEN INTENSITY MAPPING EXPERIMENT (CHIME)
Scientists with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Collaboration have assembled the largest collection of fast radio bursts (FRBs) in the telescope’s first FRB catalogue.

About:

  • CHIME is an interferometric radio telescope.

  • It is located in British Columbia, Canada.

  • It consists of four antennas consisting of 100 x 20 metre cylindrical parabolic reflectors with 1024 dual-polarization radio receivers suspended on a support above them.

  • The antenna receives radio waves from hydrogen in space at frequencies in the 400–800 MHz range.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

NEW ATLANTIC CHARTER
The New Atlantic Charter is an agreement that was signed by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson and the President of the United States Joe Biden on 10 June 2021.

About:

  • The agreement was signed at the first face-to-face meeting between Johnson and Biden at the 2021 G7 Summit in Cornwall, England.

  • The agreement is a new version of the Atlantic Charter, signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

DISCOVERED SMALL FIELD BID ROUND-III
Discovered Small Field (DSF) bid round-III for international competitive bidding was launched by Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel.

About:

  • Government of India had launched Discovered Small Field (DSF) Policy in 2015 for awarding discovered acreages and monetize the unmonetized discoveries.

  • The DSF policy has multiple attractive features like revenue sharing contract model with low regulatory burden, no minimum biddable work programme, no prior technical qualification required, no upfront signature bonus, etc.

  • In DSF Round – I launched in 2016, 134 bids were submitted for 34 contract areas by 47 companies. 30 Revenue Sharing Contracts were signed.

  • In DSF Round – II launched in 2018, 145 bids were submitted for 24 contract area. 24 Revenue Sharing Contracts were signed.

  • Encouraged by the success of DSF bid rounds-I &II, the Government of India has extended the DSF Policy by launching DSF bid round-III.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

ALL INDIA SURVEY ON HIGHER EDUCATION (AISHE) 2019-20
Union Education Minister released the report of All India Survey on Higher Education 2019-20.

About:

  • In 2019-20 There are 1043 Universities(2%), 42343 Colleges (77%) and 11779 Stand Alone Institutions (21%) listed on AISHE web portal. 307 Universities are affiliating i.e. having Colleges.

  • The top 8 States in terms of highest number of colleges in India are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

  • Bangalore Urban district tops in terms of number of colleges with 1009 colleges followed by Jaipur with 606 colleges. Top 50 districts have about 32% of colleges.

  • College density, i.e. the number of colleges per lakh eligible population (population in the age-group 18-23 years) varies from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Karnataka as compared to All India average of 30.

  • Total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 38.5 million with 19.6 million boys and 18.9 million female. Female constitute 49% of the total enrolment.

  • Uttar Pradesh comes at number one with the highest student enrolment followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher education in India is 27.1, which is calculated for 18-23 years of age group. Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), the percentage of students belonging to the eligible age group enrolled in Higher Education, in 2019-20 is 27.1% against 26.3% in 2018-19 and 24.3% in 2014-2015.

  • Highest share of foreign students come from the neighboring countries of which Nepal is 28.1% of the total, followed by, Afghanistan 9.1%, Bangladesh 4.6%, Bhutan constitutes 3.8% and Sudan 3.6%.

  • Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in Universities and Colleges is 28 if regular mode enrolment is considered whereas PTR for Universities and its Constituent Units is 18 for regular mode.

  • Gender Parity Index (GPI) in Higher Education in 2019-20 is 1.01 against 1.00 in 2018-19 indicating an improvement in the relative access to higher education for females of eligible age group compared to males.

Source : Times of India
Education

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

RAILWAYS SAFETY
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for allotment of 5 MHz Spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band to Indian Railways for public safety and security services at stations and in trains.

About:

  • With this spectrum, Indian Railways has envisaged to provide LTE (Long Term Evolution) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route.

  • The estimated investment in the project is more than Rs. 25,000 Crore.

  • The project will be completed in the next 5 years.

  • The purpose of the LTE for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications.

  • It will be used for modern signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards.

  • It will also enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of coaches, wagons & locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations. 

Important Info :

Other steps

  • In addition to this, Indian Railways has approved TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System), an indigenously developed ATP (Automatic Train Protection) System, which will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety. 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN HEALTH
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the first meeting of the World Health Organization High-Level Coalition on Health and Energy Platform of Action.

Key Highlights of his address

  • An expert body called the National Action Plan on Climate Change and Human Health was constituted by government of India with the multiple objectives of creating awareness amongst the general population, health-care providers and policy makers regarding impact of climate change on human health.

  • This National Expert Group submitted its report recently in April 2021 with inclusion of Subject Specific Health Action Plans on identified Climate Sensitive Diseases and ‘One Health’.

  • In the context of “Green and Climate Resilient Healthcare Facilities”, India became signatory to the Malé Declaration in 2017 and agreed to promote climate-resilient healthcare facilities to be able to withstand any climatic event. 

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

NANJUNDESHWARA TEMPLE
After noticing that B.Y. Vijayendra, son of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, has admitted to entering Sri Nanjundeshwara temple in Nanjangud recently, the Karnataka High Court asked the State government why then even ordinary citizens are not allowed to enter temples like him despite a ban imposed in view of COVID-19 lockdown.

About:

  • The Nanjundeshwara Temple is also called Srikanteshwara Temple.

  • It is an ancient temple in the Hindu pilgrimage town of Nanjanagudu in the Karnataka.

  • it is dedicated to god Nanjundeshwara (another name for the god Shiva, also known as Nanjundeshwara).

  • Nanju in Kannada means poison; the name Nanjundeshwara means the "God who Drank the Poison" (halahala), a word that has its origins in the legend of the Great Churning of the Ocean of Milk; thus the town got the name 'Nanjangudu' which means "the abode of the god Nanjundeshwara". 

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

DINGKO SINGH
PM Modi has condoled the demise of boxer Shri Dingko Singh. He died of liver cancer.

About:

  • Ngangom Dingko Singh (1979 – 2021) was an Indian boxer from Manipur.

  • He is considered to have been one of the most outstanding boxers India ever produced.

  • Dingko rose to prominence by winning the 1997 Kings Cup in Bangkok.

  • He who won the gold medal at 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok bringing India its first boxing gold medal in 16 years.

  • He also represented India at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

  • He was awarded Arjuna Award in 1998 and Padma Shri in 2013.

  • He was also a service personnel of the Indian Navy.

  • He coached the Navy to team championship victory in the 2009 inter-Services meet and groomed some top boxers, including Olympian Anthresh Lakra and Commonwealth Games champion Suranjoy Singh.

Source : Hindustan Times
Sports

Current Affairs
June 12, 2021

BUDDHADEB DASGUPTA
Buddhadeb Dasgupta (1944 – 2021) died at the age of 77 on 10 June 2021.

About:

  • He was an Indian Bengali poet and filmmaker, most known for films like Bagh Bahadur, Tahader Katha, Charachar and Uttara.

  • Five of his films have won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. As a director, he has won National Film Award for Best Direction twice.

  • Over the years he has published several works of poetry including Govir Araley, Coffin Kimba Suitcase, Himjog, Chhaata Kahini, Roboter Gaan, Sreshtha Kabita, and Bhomboler Ascharya Kahini O Ananya Kabita.

  • Dasgupta brought Indian cinema back on the international stage after the death of Satyajit Ray in 1992, winning several international accolades.

  • He will be remembered among the greats of Indian cinema that Bengal has produced, including the legendary Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.

Source : Times of India
Culture
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