July 31, 2021

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

GENERAL INSURANCE BUSINESS (NATIONALISATION) AMENDMENT BILL 2021
The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

About:

  • The Bill will amend the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972. The Bill proposes three amendments.

  • The first aims to omit the proviso to Section 10B of the Act so as to remove the requirement that the Central government holds not less than 51 per cent of the equity capital in a specified insurer.

  • The second amendment is to insert a new Section 24B, providing for cessation of application of the Act to such a specified insurer from the date on which the Centre ceases to have control over it.

  • And, the third amendment is also to insert a new Section 31A, making a director, who is not a whole-time director, liable only for acts of omission or commission committed with his knowledge and connivance by the insurer.

  • Although the Bill has a provision that will allow the government to bring down its shareholding below 51 per cent, Sitharaman clarified that this is not a Bill for privatisation.

Important Info :

Which of the four?

  • As on date, there are four public sector general insurance companies — National Insurance Company Limited, New India Assurance Company Limited, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, and United India Insurance Company Limited.
  • It is not yet known in one the government will lower its shareholding.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

COMMISSION FOR AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION AND ADJOINING AREAS BILL 2021
The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

About:

  • The bill aims for the constitution of a commission for better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems related to air quality in the national capital region and adjoining areas.

  • The commission shall consist of a full-time chairperson having experience of not less than 15 years in the field of environment protection and pollution control or having administrative experience of not less than 25 years.

  • The chairperson or a member, other than an ex officio member, shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier, and shall be eligible for re-appointment.

  • Adjoining areas refers to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan where any source of pollution may cause adverse impact on air quality in the NCR.

  • Once passed, the bill will replace an ordinance issued in the recent past.

  • According to the new Bill, "the commission may impose and collect environmental compensation from farmers causing air pollution by stubble burning, at such rate and in such manner, as may be prescribed". 

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) AMENDMENT BILL, 2021
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, was passed in Rajya Sabha on July 28, 2021. It was passed in Lok Sabha on 24.03.2021.

Adoption

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 states that adoption of a child is final on the issuance of an adoption order by the civil court.

  • The Bill provides that instead of the court, the district magistrate (including additional district magistrate) will issue such adoption orders.

Serious offences

  • Under the 2015 Act offences committed by juveniles are categorised as heinous offences, serious offences, and petty offences. Serious offences include offences with three to seven years of imprisonment. 

  • The Bill adds that serious offences will also include offences for which maximum punishment is imprisonment of more than seven years, and minimum punishment is not prescribed or is less than seven years.

Child Welfare Committees (CWCs)

  • The Act provides that states must constitute one or more CWCs for each district for dealing with children in need of care and protection. It provides certain criteria for the appointment of members to CWC. 

  • The Bill adds certain criteria for a person to be ineligible to be a member of the CWC. These include: (i) having any record of violation of human rights or child rights, or (ii) being a part of the management of a child care institution in a district. 

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

CREAMY LAYER
A proposal to revise the criteria for defining the “creamy layer” among OBCs has been pending for years, and MPs have raised the issue during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.

About:

  • It is a concept that sets a threshold within which OBC reservation benefits are applicable.

  • While there is a 27% quota for OBCs in government jobs and higher educational institutions, those falling within the “creamy layer” cannot get the benefits of this quota.

  • Based on the recommendation of the Second Backward Classes Commission (Mandal Commission), the government on August 13, 1990 had notified 27% reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in vacancies in civil posts and services that are to be filled on direct recruitment.

  • After this was challenged, the Supreme Court on November 16, 1992 (Indira Sawhney case) upheld 27% reservation for OBCs, subject to exclusion of the creamy layer. 

Important Info :

How is it determined?

  • Following the order in Indra Sawhney, an expert committee headed by Justice (retired) R N Prasad was constituted for fixing the criteria for determining the creamy layer.
  • In 1993, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) listed out various categories of people of certain rank/status/income whose children cannot avail benefit of OBC reservation.
  • For those not in government, the current threshold is an income of Rs 8 lakh per year. For children of government employees, the threshold is based on their parents’ rank and not income.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

CHILAHATI-HALDIBARI ROUTE
The first goods train on the revived Chilahati-Haldibari route between Bangladesh and India is scheduled to leave the Alipurduar section of India for Bangladesh on 31 July.

About:

  • The Haldibari-Chilahati train route was opened in December last year for the operation of the goods train after a gap of 55 years during the virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

  • The passenger train will also run on the same route. This route was closed during the India-Pakistan war of 1965.

  • However, the operation of the trains remained disrupted due to the COVID 19 pandemic in India and Bangladesh.

  • At present, five rail routes connect Bangladesh and India namely Petrapole-Benapole, Gede-Darshana, Singhabad-Rohanpur Radhikapur-Birol and Haldibari-Chilahati.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE STATEMENT OF GUIDING PRINCIPLES (SGP)
India and the US signed the Second Amendment to the Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for global development.

Background

  • The SGP Agreement, signed in November 2014, underscores the contribution of India-US partnership to global stability and prosperity.

  • It provides a framework for promoting cooperation between the two countries to meet the developmental aspirations of partner countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.

  • This triangular cooperation with the US will complement India’s other ongoing and future development partnerships, capacity building and technical assistance with countries globally.

Important Info :

Second Amendment

  • The Second Amendment to the SGP Agreement extends the validity of the SGP Agreement up-to 2026.
  • It expands the scope of capacity building activities undertaken jointly by India and the United States under this framework.
  • It also provides a consultative mechanism for joint biannual monitoring and review of activities undertaken under the SGP.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

COCONUT DEVELOPMENT BOARD (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2021
The Rajya Sabha passed the Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

About:

  • The bill seeks to make the post of Chairman, Coconut Development Board as Non-Executive one.

  • The bill will pave the way to appoint a professional persons as a non- Executive Chairman instead of a government official.

  • The number of members of the board has been raised from four to six as after the amendment, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat will be able to nominate their representatives in the Board.

Important Info :

Background

  • The Coconut Development Board Act, 1979 was enacted to provide for the development of the coconut industry under the control of the Union and for matters connected therewith.
  • The Coconut Development Board was established on 28th January, 1981 under the said Act.
  • At present, the Board has an executive Chairman who is a Joint Secretary level officer in the Government of India, appointed by that Government on deputation basis.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

CONVERSION PRACTICES PROHIBITION LEGISLATION BILL
New Zealand has introduced legislation seeking to ban conversion therapy, which refers to the practice of trying to “cure” people of their sexuality, gender expression, or LGBTQI identity.

About:

  • The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill aims at preventing any harm caused by conversion therapy and promote healthy discussions on gender and sexuality. The bill also provides for civil redress.

  • The bill proposes to make an offence to perform conversion therapy on children, youngsters under the age of 18 or anyone with impaired decision-making capacity. The punishment for the offence will be up to three years of imprisonment.

  • Under the bill, it is also an offence to make anyone go through conversion therapy, irrespective of their age, and cause them serious harm. The punishment of this offence will be up to five years of imprisonment. Although, the bill is unclear on what “serious harm” means.

  • The Human Rights Commission would play a significant role in educating about conversion practices and in help survivors access any support that they need.

Important Info :

Which are the other countries that have banned conversion therapy?

  • New Zealand is not the first country to impose a ban on conversion therapy practices.
  • Other countries that have, over the years, imposed a ban on such practices are Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. Germany passed a ban on advertising and the practice of conversion therapy in minors, in May last year.
  • Other than these countries, 20 states in the US and a few cities in the US, Canada, Australia and Spain have banned the practice.
Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

BRICS COUNTER TERRORISM ACTION PLAN
The 6th meeting of the BRICS Counter Terrorism Working Group was held virtually on 28th and 29th of July under the Chairmanship of India.

About:

  • The main outcome of the Working Group meeting was the finalisation of the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan containing specific measures to implement the BRICS Counter Terrorism Strategy adopted by BRICS Leaders in 2020.

  • The Action Plan is aimed at further strengthening result oriented cooperation between BRICS countries in areas such as preventing and combating terrorism, radicalisation, financing of terrorism, misuse of internet by terrorists, and curbing travel of terrorists.

  • The BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan is one of the key deliverables during India’s Chairship of BRICS and will be adopted at the meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors scheduled next month.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 31, 2021

DSF BID ROUND-III
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched the Discovered Small Field (DSF) Bid Round-III.

About:

  • Under the bid round, 75 discoveries across 32 Contract areas in 11 basins/locations are being offered. Estimated Hydrocarbon in place of approximately 232 MMTOE of oil and oil equivalent gas are on offer.

  • In the earlier two rounds, 54 contracts were awarded to 27 companies including 12 new entrants.

Important Info :

The salient features of DSF policy are:

  • Revenue Sharing Model,
  • Single License for Conventional & Unconventional Hydrocarbons,
  • No upfront signature bonus,
  • Reduced Royalty rate in line with HELP,
  • no cess,
  • Full marketing and Pricing freedom for gas produced,
  • Exploration allowed during entire contract period, and
  • 100% participation from foreign companies/ joint ventures.
Source : PIB
Economy

July 30, 2021

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

SAMBANDAR
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) announced that it would return 14 works of art from its Asian art collection to India.

The works being returned are:

  • dancing child-saint Sambandar of 12th century belonging to Chola dynasty,

  • processional standard [alam], from Hyderabad,

  • arch for a Jain shrine (11th-12th century), seated Jina, 1163 from Mount Abu region, Rajasthan,

  • the divine couple Lakshmi and Vishnu [Lakshmi Narayana] (11-12th century), and

  • Durga Mahisasuramardini, from Gujarat.

Important Info :

Sambandar

  • Sambandar, also referred to as Thirugnana Sambandar was a Saiva poet-saint of Tamil Nadu who lived sometime in the 7th century CE. He was a contemporary of Appar, another Saiva poet-saint.
  • He was a child prodigy who lived just 16 years. According to the Tamil Shaiva tradition, he composed an oeuvre of 16,000 hymns in complex meters, of which 383 (384) hymns with 4,181 stanzas have survived.
  • These narrate an intense loving devotion (bhakti) to the Hindu god Shiva.
  • The surviving compositions of Sambandar are preserved in the first three volumes of the Tirumurai, and provide a part of the philosophical foundation of Shaiva Siddhanta.
Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

INLAND VESSELS BILL 2021
The Inland Vessels Bill 2021 was passed in Lok Sabha.

About:

  • It replaces the Inland Vessels Act, 1917. The Bill seeks to introduce a uniform regulatory framework for inland vessel navigation across the country.

  • Mechanically propelled inland vessels: The Bill defines such vessels to include ships, boats, sailing vessels, container vessels, and ferries. The central government will prescribe the: (i) classification, (ii) standards of design, construction, and crew accommodation, and (iii) type and periodicity of surveys, for these vessels.

  • Certificates: To operate in inland waters, all such vessels must have a certificate of survey, and a certificate of registration. Vessels with Indian ownership must be registered with the Registrar of Inland Vessels (appointed by the state government).

  • Insurance: The vessels must also have an insurance policy to cover liability for death, injury, or damage caused due to the usage of the vessel (including accidental pollution).

  • Navigation safety: Such vessels will be required to follow certain specifications for signals and equipment to ensure navigation safety, as specified by the central government. 

  • Inquiry into accidents: All accidents aboard such vessels must be reported to the head officer of the nearest police station, as well as to a state government appointed authority.  

  • Manning requirements: The central government will prescribe the minimum number of people that vessels must have, for various roles. Violating these requirements will attract a penalty of up to Rs 10,000 for the first offence, and Rs 25,000 for subsequent offences.

  • Prevention of pollution: Vessels will discharge or dispose sewage, as per the standards specified by the central government. State governments will grant vessels a certificate of prevention of pollution, in a form as prescribed by the central government. 

  • Development fund: The Bill provides for a development fund which will be utilised for various purposes including: (i) emergency preparedness, (ii) containment of pollution, and (iii) boosting inland water navigation. Each state will constitute such a development fund. 

  • Non-mechanically propelled inland vessels: The Bill empowers state governments to delegate certain functions related to non-mechanically propelled inland vessels to their local governments.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVES (SPR) PROGRAMME
Under the second phase of the Petroleum Reserves programme, the government of India has approved the setting up of two additional commercial-cum-strategic facilities with a total storage capacity of 6.5 MMT underground storage at Chandikhol (4 MMT) and Padur (2.5 MMT) in July 2021, on PPP Mode.

About:

  • The request for proposal for building these storage facilities is under finalisation.

  • An amount of Rs 210 crore was allocated in the budget for the financial year 2020-21 under Phase II for land acquisition, and the same has been disbursed to ISPRL.

Background

  • Under the first phase of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) programme, the Government through its special purpose vehicle, the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Limited (ISPRL), has set up petroleum storage facilities with a total capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at 3 locations.

  • These are namely (i) Visakhapatnam (1.33 MMT), (ii) Mangaluru (1.5 MMT) and (iii) Padur (2.5 MMT), and all the storage facilities have been filled with crude oil.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

CHANDRAYAAN-3
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is likely to launch India’s third lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-3’ in the third quarter of 2022.

About:

  • Chandrayaan-3 is a lander-and rover-specific mission, which will demonstrate India’s capability of soft landing on a celestial body, with the rover then communicating with Earth via the existing orbiter from Chandrayaan-2 and taking images 100 km from Moon’s orbit.

  • The orbiter has an estimated lifespan of seven years.

  • The unique exploration of Chandrayaan-3 aims at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface in a single mission.

Important Info :

Why Lunar South Pole of the Moon is targeted for exploration?

  • The Lunar South pole is especially interesting because the lunar surface area that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. Further, there could be a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.
  • In addition, the South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.
Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

MAHARASHTRA BHUSHAN
The Maharashtra Bhushan Selection Committee chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray unanimously selected legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle for the prestigious award.

About:

  • The Maharashtra Bhushan Puraskar will be given to legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle for the year 2021.

  • The Maharashtra Bhushan is a highest civilian award presented annually by the government of Maharashtra.

  • It was first awarded in 1996 to Purushottam Laxman Deshpande in the field of Literature.

  • It was initially conferred in every years in the fields of Literature, Art, Sport, and Science. Later the fields of Social Work, Journalism, and Public Administration and Health Services were included. The award is presented for outstanding achievement in their field.

Source : All India Radio
Awards

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

ALL INDIA QUOTA (AIQ) SCHEME FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken a decision for providing 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical / dental courses (MBBS / MD / MS / Diploma / BDS / MDS) from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards.

About:

  • The All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any State to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another State.

  • All India Quota consists of 15% of total available UG seats and 50% of total available PG seats in government medical colleges.

  • Initially, there was no reservation in AIQ Scheme up to 2007. In 2007, the Supreme Court introduced reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the AIQ Scheme.

  • When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007 providing for uniform 27% reservation to OBCs, the same was implemented in all the Central Educational Institutions viz. Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Harding Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University etc.

  • However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of State medical and dental colleges.

Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

DEPOSIT INSURANCE AND CREDIT GUARANTEE CORPORATION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2021
The Union Cabinet has approved the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and has been introduced in Parliament’s monsoon session.

About:

  • Deposit Insurance Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

  • It provides deposit insurance that works as a protection cover for bank deposit holders when the bank fails to pay its depositors.

  • It protects depositors’ money kept in all commercial and foreign banks located in India; central, state, and urban co-operative banks; regional rural banks; and local banks, provided that the bank has opted for DICGC cover.

  • The agency’s operations are performed as per the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961 and The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation General Regulations, 1961.

Important Info :

Amendment bill

  • The Bill provides account holders security of their money by allowing access to up to Rs 5 lakh within 90 days of a bank coming under a moratorium.
  • Under the latest amendment in the DICGC Bill, 98.3% of all deposits will be covered and in terms of deposit value, 50.9% of deposits will be covered. While the Global deposit value is only 80% of all deposit accounts and covers only 20-30% of the deposit value.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

AMAGARH FORT
Jaipur’s Amagarh Fort is at the centre of a conflict between the tribal Meena community and local Hindu groups.

About:

  • Members of the Meena community say the Amagarh Fort was built by a Meena ruler predating Rajput rule in Jaipur, and has been their holy site for centuries.

  • People from the community used to worship Amba Mata and other deities in the fort.

  • In June, following reports of idols being vandalised and hoisting of a saffron flag at the fort, Meena community members accused Hindu groups of trying to appropriate tribal symbols into the Hindutva fold, and of changing the name of Amba Mata to Ambika Bhawani.

Important Info :

History of the fort

  • the present form of the Amagarh Fort was given in the 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of Jaipur.
  • It has always been believed that there was some construction at the place before Jai Singh II built the fort.
Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

CLOUDBURSTS
On July 28, at least seven people were killed, 17 injured and over 35 missing after a cloudburst hit a remote village of Jammu and Kashmir.

About:

  • Cloudbursts are short-duration, intense rainfall events over a small area.

  • According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), it is a weather phenomenon with unexpected precipitation exceeding 100mm/h over a geographical region of approximately 20-30 square km.

  • A study published last year studied the meteorological factors behind the cloudburst over the Kedarnath region.

  • They analysed atmospheric pressure, atmospheric temperature, rainfall, cloud water content, cloud fraction, cloud particle radius, cloud mixing ratio, total cloud cover, wind speed, wind direction, and relative humidity during the cloudburst, before as well as after the cloudburst

  • A 2017 study of cloudbursts in the Indian Himalayas noted that most of the events occurred in the months of July and August.

Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
July 30, 2021

EOS-03
Union Minister of Science & Technology informed Rajya Sabha that Geo-imaging satellite “EOS-03” is scheduled for launch in third quarter of 2021.

About:

  • It would enable near-real time monitoring of natural disasters like floods & cyclones.

  • EOS-03 is capable of imaging the whole country 4-5 times daily.

  • In addition to natural disasters, EOS-03 would also enable monitoring of water bodies, crops, vegetation condition, forest cover changes etc.

Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

July 29, 2021

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

VANDALISM
The Supreme Court held that lawmakers cannot indulge in criminal acts on the Parliament or Assembly floors and then take cover behind the right to free speech.

About:

  • The court refused the Kerala government’s plea to withdraw prosecution of top Left Democratic Front (LDF)leaders accused of vandalism and wanton destruction of public property on the Assembly floor during a Budget speech in 2015.

  • Acts of vandalism cannot be said to be manifestations of freedom of speech and be termed as ‘proceedings’ of the Assembly.

  • It was not the intention of the drafters of the Constitution to extend the interpretation of ‘freedom of speech’ to include criminal acts by placing them under a veil of protest.

  • Legislators cannot unleash violence, run riot in Parliament or a Legislative Assembly and then claim parliamentary privilege and immunity from criminal prosecution. Parliamentary privileges and immunities are not “gateways” for legislators to claim exception from the law of the land, especially criminal law.

  • The court explained that the purpose of bestowing privileges and immunities to elected members of the legislature was to enable them to perform their “essential functions” without hindrance, fear or favour.The ‘essential’ function of the House is collective deliberation and decision-making.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

ACADEMIC CREDIT BANK
On the first anniversary of the National Education Policy (NEP), the Centre plans to officially roll out some initiatives promised in the policy, such as a credit transfer system that will allow multiple entry and exit options in higher education, as well as engineering programmes in regional languages.

About:

  • However, other promised reforms such as the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), the four-year undergraduate degree, and the common university entrance test, are not ready yet.

  • The Academic Bank of Credit will be rolled out for students in over 290 top institutions from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards.

  • All institutions in the top 100 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework as well as those who have achieved an A grade under the National Assessment and Accreditation Council will be allowed to participate in the credit transfer system, which will also allow multiple entry and exit options for students.

Source : The Hindu
Education

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

RAJA MIRCHA
In a major boost to exports of Geographical Indications (GI) products from the north-eastern region, a consignment of ‘Raja Mircha’ also referred as king chilli from Nagaland was exported to London via Guwahati by air for the first time.

About:

  • The consignment of King Chilli also considered as world’s hottest based on the

  • The chilli from Nagaland is also referred as Bhoot Jolokia and Ghost pepper.

  • It got GI certification in 2008.

  • Nagaland King Chilli belongs to genus Capsicum of family Solanaceae.

  • Naga king chilli has been considered as the world’s hottest chilli and is constantly on the top five in the list of the world's hottest chilies based on the Scoville Heat Units (SHUs).

Important Info :
  • In 2021, APEDA has facilitated exports of Jackfruits from Tripura to London and Germany, Assam Lemon to London, Red rice of Assam to the United States and Leteku ‘Burmese Grape’ to Dubai.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

DALIT BANDHU
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) recently said his government is ready to spend Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore for Dalit Bandhu, touted as the country’s biggest direct benefit transfer scheme, to empower Dalits across the state.

About:

  • Dalit Bandhu is the latest flagship programme of the Telangana government.

  • It is envisioned as a welfare scheme for empowering Dalit families and enable entrepreneurship among them through a direct benefit transfer of Rs 10 lakh per family.

  • This is, once implemented on the ground, going to be the biggest cash transfer scheme in the country.

  • Apart from monetary assistance, the government plans to create a corpus called the Dalit Security Fund permanently to support the beneficiary in the event of any adversities.

  • KCR’s decision to first implement Dalit Bandhu on a pilot basis in Huzurabad Assembly Constituency, which is due for bye-elections, has drawn widespread criticism from the Opposition, which senses a poll stunt.

Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

ASSAM-MIZORAM DISPUTE
At least five policemen in India have died after police from Assam and Mizoram fired at each other.

About:

  • Assam shares a 164km (about 101 miles) border with Mizoram, and both states contest its demarcation.

  • Under colonial rule, Lushai Hills, as Mizoram was then known, was part of Assam. The region only gained recognition in 1972 - almost three decades after India's independence - when it became a separate federally administered area. In 1987, it became a fully-fledged state.

  • Three districts in Assam - Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj - share a 164km-long border with three districts of Mizoram.

  • The forested area is contested at several points, with both Assam and Mizoram accusing each other of encroaching on their land.

  • The federal government has been trying to mediate a truce between the states since 1994 but has failed to achieve a breakthrough.

  • Tensions escalated to an unprecedented level in October 2020 when residents of Assam and Mizoram clashed twice in a week. At the heart of the matter was an "eviction drive" carried out by Assam along a contested part of the border - authorities from the state reportedly burned a farmhouse and crops in the area.

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

SEXUALISATION OF SPORTS
Tokyo Olympics have turned the lens on ‘sexualisation of sports’.

About:

  • The phrase first hit headlines when the German women’s gymnastics team wore unitards as their uniform at the sporting event, instead of the traditionally favoured leotards.

  • The team decided to wear the unitards as a “move that was designed to promote freedom of choice and encourage women to wear what makes them feel comfortable.”

Leotard vs Unitard

  • The unitard and leotard are both skin-tight garments usually made of lycra and spandex, their stretchability making them the perfect choice for gymnastics and dance.

  • The unitard worn by the German team is essentially a skintight suit, which covers the athletes’ body right from the ankles to their wrists.

  • Women gymnasts for the longest time have worn the bikini-cut leotard, a skin-tight one-piece attire that covers the torso and leaves the thighs bare.

Impact

  • The decision of the German women’s team has received widespread global support.

  • As a direct outcome of the German team’s stand, the Olympic Broadcasting Services has called for a clampdown on the showcase of “overtly sexualised images of female athletes”.

Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

PRE-PACKAGED INSOLVENCY RESOLUTION PROCESS (PIRP)
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021, passed by Lok Sabha has proposed ‘pre-packs’ or Pre-packaged Insolvency Resolution Process (PIRP) as an insolvency resolution mechanism for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

About:

  • A pre-pack envisages the resolution of the debt of a distressed company through a direct agreement between secured creditors and the existing owners or outside investors, instead of a public bidding process.

  • nder the pre-pack system, financial creditors will agree to terms with the promoters or a potential investor, and seek approval of the resolution plan from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

  • The approval of at least 66 per cent of financial creditors that are unrelated to the corporate debtor would be required before a resolution plan is submitted to the NCLT.

  • The NCLTs will be required to either accept or reject an application for a pre-pack insolvency proceeding before considering a petition for a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP).

Important Info :

How are pre-packs better than CIRP?

  • One of the key criticisms of the CIRP has been the time it takes for resolution. The pre-pack in contrast, is limited to a maximum of 120 days with only 90 days available to stakeholders to bring a resolution plan for approval before the NCLT.
  • Another key difference between pre-packs and CIRP is that the existing management retains control in the case of pre-packs; in the case of CIRP, a resolution professional takes control of the debtor as a representative of inancial creditors. This ensures minimal disruption of operations relative to a CIRP.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

SWACHH BHARAT MISSION (GRAMEEN) PHASE – 2
Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat released the ODF Plus Manuals under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase – 2 in New Delhi.

About:

  • The manuals pertain to key components of ODF Plus – Grey Water Management, Plastic Waste Management, Faecal Sludge Management and Biodegradable Waste Management.

  • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation has developed manuals to support states, districts, and rural local bodies implement solid and liquid waste management initiatives.

  • Phase – 2 of the Swachh Bharat mission aiming at achieving ODF Plus goal was launched last year, which focuses on ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management aiming at comprehensive cleanliness in villages. 

Source : All India Radio
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

NANDU NATEKAR
The Prime Minister Modi has expressed grief over the demise of badminton player Nandu Natekar. He was 88 years old.

About:

  • Nandu Natekar (1933 – 2021) was an Indian badminton national champion.

  • Natekar was the first Indian to win an international title when he claimed the Sellanger International in Malaysia in 1956.

  • He was the Recipient of the first Arjuna Award instituted in 1961.

  • Natekar won over 100 national and international titles for India in a career spanning 15 years.

  • Natekar was also a former World number three. He had also represented India at the 1965 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.

Source : The Hindu
Sports

Current Affairs
July 29, 2021

BASAVARAJ BOMMAI
Basavaraj Bommai has been appointed as the 23rd Chief Minister (CM) of Karnataka.

About:

  • Basavaraj Somappa Bommai (born 1960) is an Indian politician and mechanical. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

  • He belongs to Banajiga sub-sect of Lingayat community.

  • Bommai is the son of the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, S. R. Bommai.

  • He is the current and 23rd CM of Karnataka. On 28 July 2021, he succeeded B. S. Yediyurappa as the CM.

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

July 28, 2021

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

DHOLAVIRA
Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, received the UNESCO world heritage site tag.

About:

  • While Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.

  • The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name.

Distinct features

  • After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.

  • The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.

  • Some of the unique features of the Dholavira site are a cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas.

  • While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.

  • Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.

Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

RAKESH ASTHANA
Days before his superannuation, Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana was appointed Delhi Police Commissioner. Mr. Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, was to retire on July 31.

About:

  • Asthana, who was serving as Director General, Border Security Force, will join as the Delhi Police Commissioner with immediate effect.

  • While clearing Mr. Asthana’s appointment as CP, Delhi, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the inter-cadre deputation from Gujarat to AGMUT cadre.

  • This is one of the very few instances when an IPS officer outside of the AGMUT cadre has been appointed as the Delhi Police chief.

  • Asthana had earlier served as the Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He was the Narcotics Control Bureau chief when actor Rhea Chakraborty was arrested in a drugs case in Mumbai.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

DRINK FROM TAP
Puri became the first city in India where people can avail high quality drinking water directly from the tap on 24-hour basis. Henceforth, people need not have to store or filter drinking water.

About:

  • No metropolitan city in India have such facility yet. Similar facilities are available only in world-class cities like London, New York and Singapore.

  • The project would benefit 2.5 lakh citizens of Puri and 2 crore tourists who visit the tourist place every year. They need not have to move around with water bottle. Puri would no more be burdened with 400 metric tonne of plastic waste. Water fountains have been developed at 400 locations in Puri.

  • A similar project is under various stages of implementation in 16 other urban centres of Odisha.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

INDRA-21
12th Edition of Indo-Russia joint military Exercise INDRA 2021 will be held at Volgograd, Russia from 01 to 13 August 2021.

About:

  • The exercise will entail conduct of counter terror operations under the United Nations mandate by a joint force against international terror groups.

  • 250 personnel from Army of both the nations will form part of the exercise. 

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

HELPLINE FOR WOMEN AFFECTED BY VIOLENCE
The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, inaugurated the National Commission for Women’s 24/7 helpline number - 7827170170.

About:

  • The helpline aims to provide 24/7 online support to women affected by violence through referral by linking them with appropriate authorities such as police, hospitals, District Legal Service Authority, psychological services etc.

  • The helpline will function with a team of trained experts. Any girl or woman aged 18 years and above can seek help by calling on this Helpline which will be operated from the premises of the National Commission for Women, New Delhi.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

PHOSPHORUS ROCKS
Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers informed Parliament that India will explore indigenous deposits of phosphatic rock, a step towards becoming AatmaNirbhar in fertilizer production.

What are phosphorus rocks?

  • Phosphorus rocks or phosphate rocks are unprocessed ores.

  • Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary (formed from sediment deposited by water or air) or igneous (having solidified from lava or magma).

  • However, the easiest way to obtain phosphorus is by way of mining and concentrating phosphate rock from the phosphate deposits.

Used in fertilizers

  • Worldwide, more than 85% of the phosphate rock mined is used to manufacture phosphate fertilizers.

  • All common fertilizers have an “N-P-K” rating. Phosphorus is the “P” in fertilizers, which is essential for plants.

Where is it found?

  • Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary or igneous and are mined from sedimentary deposits formed by the deposition of phosphate-rich materials in marine environments.

  • Large sedimentary deposits are located in China, Middle East, Northern Africa, and the United States.

  • Meanwhile, the igneous deposits are mined in Brazil, Canada, Finland, Russia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Important Info :

Phosphorus in India

  • Phosphate rocks are majorly produced only from two States in India, namely Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Currently, there exists 30 lakh MT of phosphorite deposits in the country, for which important steps are being taken by the Government to ramp up its production.
  • These deposits are available in Rajasthan, central part of peninsular India, Hirapur (Madhya Pradesh), Lalitpur (Uttar Pradesh), Mussoorie syncline, and Cuddapah basin (Andhra Pradesh).
Source : All India Radio
Geography

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

MERCHANDISE PROGRAMME
In a bid to create awareness and kindling interest of students, children and the public in the domain of space and technology, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has come up with the customised-themed merchandise programme in partnership with multiple companies on board.

About:

  • So far, eight companies have registered with ISRO on a non-exclusive basis with a registration fee regarding customised ISRO-theme-based articles/models and it includes Indic Inspirations (Pune), 1947IND (Bengaluru), and Ankur Hobby Centre (Ahmedabad).

  • The collection will include authorised products that are connected to ISROs past missions and achievements, work, such as scale models, T-shirts, mugs, space-themed educational games, science toys, and more.

  • Special attention would be given to 3D models and 2D drawings that are being used to make scaled models, LEGO sets, jigsaw puzzles, etc. to ensure accuracy and ISRO intellect. 

Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE (JWST)
NASA is set to launch the large infrared James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) touted as the “premier observatory” of the coming decade later this year.

About:

  • Considered the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST will study various phases in the history of the universe, from the formation of solar systems to the evolution of our own Solar System.

  • But before it launches, NASA has an important decision to make — whether to rename the $8.8-billion telescope.

  • These considerations stem from allegations that NASA’s former government-appointed administrator James Webb, after whom JWST is named, had persecuted homosexuals when he had worked for the government.

  • In May, four prominent astronomers wrote that Webb (1906-92) purged LGBT individuals from the workforce after he arrived at NASA in 1961 (he served until 1968). The debate marks a rare instance of astronomers making a political statement.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

SOUTH KOREA’S ARTILLERY INTERCEPTION SYSTEM
South Korea has approved plans to develop an artillery interception system, similar to Israel’s Iron Dome.

About:

  • This new defence system will be designed and built specifically to thwart attacks by rockets and long-range missiles launched by North Korea.

  • The South Korean government had announced in June that it would be spending approximately $2.5 billion on research and development of this new system, with a target to deploy it by 2035.

  • North Korea deploys around 1,000 artillery pieces along the Military Demarcation Line that divides the Korean Peninsula.

Important Info :

How will South Korea’s Iron Dome differ from Israel’s?

  • There are operational differences between the two systems as well, with the most significant being that South Korea’s system will be designed to intercept long-range artillery pieces.
  • But more importantly, South Korea and Israel face different security threats that require different responses. While Israel contends with Hamas, which is primarily a militant group, South Korea had to contend with North Korea, a nation with its own extensive military capabilities.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
July 28, 2021

NAUKA
Pirs, a Russian module on the International Space Station (ISS) used as a docking port for spacecraft and as a door for cosmonauts to go out on spacewalks, was detached from the 22-year-old floating laboratory.

About:

  • In its place, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will be attaching a significantly larger module called Nauka, which will serve as the country’s main research facility on the space station.

  • Nauka, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 21 using a Proton rocket, is scheduled to be integrated with the ISS on July 29, 2021.

  • Nauka — meaning “science” in Russian — is the biggest space laboratory Russia has launched to date, and will primarily serve as a research facility.

  • It is also bringing to the ISS another oxygen generator, a spare bed, another toilet, and a robotic cargo crane built by the European Space Agency (ESA).

  • On the ISS, Nauka will be attached to the critical Zvezda module, which provides all of the space station’s life support systems.

Important Info :
  • The ISS is a pathbreaking collaborative effort between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe) and CSA (Canada).
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech
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