Sept. 19, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

45th GST COUNCIL MEETING
The GST Council’s 45th meeting was held in Lucknow under the chairmanship of the Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.

Recommendations of 45th GST Council Meeting

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has decided to keep petroleum products out of the GST regime, while consumers will have to keep paying the Compensation Cess levied on products like automobiles till March 2026 instead of July 2022 as originally envisaged at the time of rolling out the indirect tax regime.

  • To shore up GST revenues, the Council has decided to form two groups of ministers (GoMs) that have to recommend measures within two months.

  • The first one has been tasked with reviewing tax rate rationalisation issues to correct anomalies in the rate structure, while the other will look to tap technology to improve compliance and monitoring.

  • The Compensation Cess levied on automobiles, tobacco products and aerated water, over and above the basic GST rate, was to be tapped for covering the gap between States’ actual revenues and the 14% annual revenue growth for five years they were assured for adopting GST.

  • The GST Council effected several long-pending tweaks in tax rates, including an increase in the GST levied on footwear costing less than ₹1,000 as well as readymade garments and fabrics to 12% from 5%. The new rates will take effect from January 1.

  • The Council approved a special composition scheme for brick kilns with a turnover threshold of ₹20 lakh, from April 1, 2022. Bricks would attract GST at the rate of 6% without input tax credits under the scheme, or 12% with input credits.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

PHASE II OF VISVESVARAYA PHD SCHEME
Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology, launched Phase II of Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme to promote research in 42 emerging technologies in Electronics System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) and Information Technology (IT)/ Information Technology Enabled Services(ITES).

About:

  • Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme was initiated by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in 2014 with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) with an objective to enhance number of PhDs in ESDM & IT/ITES sectors. PhD seats were allocated to 97 institutions (IITs, NITs, Central & State Universities etc.) in 25 states and 4 Union Territories.

  • At present 492 Full-time & 268 Part-time PhD Fellows are pursuing while 422 Full Time & 43 Part Time PhD have submitted thesis or completed PhD. During the event achievements of Phase I of the Visvesvaraya PhD scheme were also celebrated.

  • Phase II of the scheme aims to support 1000 Full Time PhD Candidates, 150 Part Time PhD Candidates, 50 Young Faculty Research Fellowships and 225 Post-Doctoral Fellowships. 

Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

SEROTYPE 2 DENGUE
The Health Ministry has flagged the emerging challenge in 11 States across India of serotype 2 dengue, which it said is associated with “more cases and more complications” than other forms of the disease.

About:

  • The States reporting serotype - II dengue cases are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, UP, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection, found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.

  • The virus responsible for causing dengue, is called dengue virus (DENV).

  • There are four DENV serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4), meaning that it is possible to be infected four times.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

DISTRICT LEVEL COMMITTEES FOR POWER RELATED SCHEMES
Ministry of Power has issued an order for the setting up of District Level Committees which shall exercise oversight over all power related schemes of Government of India.

About:

  • This is being done in order to ensure the involvement and oversight of the people in the process of power sector reforms, and their implementation, in the country.

  • The Composition of the Committee would be:
    • Most Senior MP in the district: Chairperson

    • Other MPs in the district: Co-chairpersons

    • District Collector: Member Secretary

    • Chairperson/President of the District Panchayat: Member

    • MLAs of the district: Members

    • Most Senior representatives of CPSUs of Ministry Members of Power and NRE located in the concerned district, or their nominated officials for the district.

    • Chief Engineer/Superintending Engineer of the Convenor DISCOM/ Power Department concerned



  • The Committee of a district will meet at District Headquarters at least once in three months to review and coordinate overall development of power supply infrastructure in the district in accordance with the schemes of the Government.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

EK PAHAL DRIVE
The Department of Justice and NALSA has undertaken a special pan-India campaign on 17th September 2021 to mainstream legal aid and to actualize the aspiration of access to justice for every citizen.

About:

  • Department of Justice launched the “Ek Pahal” drive across the country from 17th September till 2nd October to encourage mass registration under Tele-Law.

  • The medium of Tele Law effectively provides pre-litigation advice / consultation to beneficiaries by Panel Lawyers through a huge network covering 51,434 Common Service Centres in 50,000 Gram Panchayats in 633 districts across 34 States and UTs.

  • The highlights of this campaign include deployment of 185 Mobile Vans and other vehicles to show-case films and documentaries on Access to Justice programme, holding of 4100 Legal Aid Clinics to give pre-litigation / legal advice to common citizens with the help of 37,000 Panel Lawyers and Para-Legal Volunteers besides holding awareness programmes at the village level on legal aid in 672 districts.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

MAHUA NUTRA BEVERAGE
TRIFED has entered into a collaborative project with Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FIIT), a unit established by IIT Delhi and M/s Rusicaa Beverages Private Ltd, Purbi Singhbhum, Jharkhand to commercialize the production of Mahua Nutra beverage – A Heritage Drink in the State of Jharkhand.

About:

  • TRIFED in association with FITT has developed this value added product Mahua nutra beverage made out of Mahua flower so that the tribals can benefit maximum from the value addition of MFPs and development of technologies.

  • This is the first of its kind of initiative in the State of Jharkhand and the country by TRIFED.

  • The Mahua Nutra beverage in its improvised form is blended with Pomegranate fruit juice, which enhances the nutritional value and masks the flavour of Mahua beverage by improving its aroma and texture.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

AYUSH AAHAR
Union Minister of Ayush said that the Ministry should promote Ayush Aahar throughout the country. This will also help saving the youth from the ills of junk food.

About:

  • The Minsitry of Ayush is promoting Ayush based diet & lifestyle and is working in convergence with the Ministry of Women & Child Development in the Poshan Abhiyan to realize the ultimate goal of ‘Suposhit Bharat’.

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in convergence with Ministry of Ayush has also released draft guidelines on Ayush Aahar, which will facilitate standardized Ayush based Aahar.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

MANORAMA MOHAPATRA
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep grief over the passing away of Eminent Odia litterateur and journalist Manorama Mohapatra.

About:

  • The former editor of the largest Odia daily 'Samaja' and the daughter of Padma Bhushan awardee Radhanath Rath, Mohapatra was the face of women empowerment in Odisha.

  • She had won the Sahitya Academy Award in 1984, Soviet Nehru Award in 1988, Critic Circle of India Award in 1990, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar Samman in 1991 and Rupambara Award in 1994.

  • As an educationist and litterateur, Mohapatra had created a niche in the Odia literary world. She had played a pivotal role in creating awareness on social issues especially concerning women.

  • As editor of 'Samaja', she took journalistic ethics to a new level.

Source : PIB
Culture

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

ICP PETRAPOLE
A new Passenger Terminal Building (I) at ICP Petrapole was inaugurated on September 17th. This signals a major boost to modernization of border infrastructure and to further strengthen India’s connectivity with Bangladesh. Built by the Land Ports Authority of India, the new PTB (I) is designed to handle around 550 passengers at any point of time.

About:

  • The largest land port in South Asia, ICP Petrapole is located along the international border between India and Bangladesh, at a distance of about 80 kms from the city of Kolkata.

  • Petrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) is an important land border crossing for India-Bangladesh both in terms of trade and passenger movement.

  • Nearly 30 percent of land-based trade between India and Bangladesh takes place through ICP Petrapole

  • Since its operationalization in February 2016, the ICP has been witnessing an increasing number of passenger movement with an average of 22 lakh people crossing the border post on either sides each year.

  • LPAI is also in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art Passenger Terminal Building (II) at ICP Petrapole which is planned to cater to half a million handling capacity. The construction work commenced in February 2020 and is expected to be completed by end of 2022.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Sept. 19, 2021

ETHANOL PLANTS
The first Expression of Interest (EOI) for signing long-term agreement with upcoming dedicated Ethanol plants for supply of Ethanol has received an overwhelming response, with 197 bidders participating in the same.

About:

  • The EOI was published by BPCL on behalf of Oil Marketing Companies under the guidance of Ministry of Petroleum &Natural Gas on 27th August which opened on 17th September.

  • This EOI is a proactive step taken by MoP&NG and Oil companies to motivate project proponents to set up ethanol production plants in ethanol deficit states, thereby paving the way forward for the nation in achieving the ethanol blending target of 20% and more in the coming years.

  • 173 Cr litre Ethanol was procured last year and 5%blending was achieved during ESY - 2019-20. The target for ongoing year ESY - 2020-21 is 325 Cr litre which will take the blending to 8.5%. Actual achievement during ESY - 2020-21 so far has been 243 Cr litre, accounting for 8.01% blending.

  • The Government has announced five different rates for Ethanol based on feedstock used for Ethanol production.

Raw material: Ex-mill price per lit

  • Sugarcane juice / sugar / sugar syrup: ₹62.65

  • B molasses: ₹57.61

  • C molasses: ₹45.69

  • Damaged food Grains / Maize: ₹51.55

  • Surplus rice with FCI: ₹56.87

Source : PIB
Economy

Sept. 18, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

PLANETARIUM INNOVATION CHALLENGE
MyGov India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), has launched the Planetarium Innovation Challenge for Indian start-ups and tech entrepreneurs.

About:

  • The challenge invites applications from start-ups and tech entrepreneurs to develop state-of-the-art technology for our Planetariums.

  • The challenge aims to bring together the tech firms and Start-ups (based out of India) with the potential to build an indigenous planetariums system software using latest technologies including Augmented Reality (A.R.), Virtual Reality (V.R.) and Merged Reality (M.R.).

  • The Innovation Challenge is open to experts from all domains of Planetarium Technology.

  • The applicants may include Start-ups, Indian Legal Entities; even Individuals (or Teams) are welcome to submit ideas.

  • The first winner, second winner and third winner under the contest will get the cash prizes of Rs.5 lakh, Rs.3 lakh and Rs.2 lakh respectively.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

KAUSHALACHARYA AWARDS 2021
Union Education Minister and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan virtually presented Kaushalacharya Awards 2021 to 41 skill trainers for their exemplary contribution to the skill ecosystem.

About:

  • These 41 trainers are from several initiatives and training programmes of Skill India— Directorate General of Training (DGT), Apprenticeship, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) and Entrepreneurship.

  • Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), pillars of India’s vocational training ecosystem, had as many as 11 trainers who were felicitated.

Source : PIB
Awards and Recognitions

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

SCO / CSTO
Prime Minister Modi participated virtually in the 21st Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and through video-message in the Joint SCO-CSTO Outreach Session on Afghanistan.

About:

  • The 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State was held on 17 September 2021 in Dushanbe in hybrid format.

  • The meeting was chaired by H.E. Emomali Rahmon, the President of Tajikistan.

Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO)

  • The SCO Summit was followed by an Outreach session on Afghanistan between SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Prime Minister participated in the outreach session through a video-message.

  • The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia that consists of selected post-Soviet states.

  • It was formed in 1992 and has 6 members: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

BAD BANK
The Union Cabinet on Monday approved Rs 30,600 crore government guarantee for the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL), thereby paving the way for operationalisation of bad bank. One of the key ideas behind formation of bad banks is to de-stress the balance sheets of the banks.

About:

  • A bad bank is a corporate structure that isolates risky assets held by banks in a separate entity.

  • It is established to buy non-performing assets (NPAs) from a bank at a price that is determined by the bad bank itself.

  • The bad bank or NARCL will pay up to 15 per cent of the agreed value for the loans in cash and the remaining 85 per cent would be government-guaranteed security receipts.

  • The government guarantee would be invoked if there is loss against the threshold value.

  • The value of bad loans being carved out of bank books for transfer to the NARCL is around Rs 2 lakh crore. About Rs 90,000 crore in bad loans will be transferred in the first phase. The guarantee of Rs 30,600 crore will cover the entire pool of Rs 2 lakh crore.

Source : Times of India
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

GENERAL SHERMAN
Two wildfires in California – one called the Colony fire and the other called Paradise – are burning through the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada that is home to some of the largest trees in the world.

About:

  • Among these trees is the world’s largest tree popularly known as General Sherman, which firefighters are now trying to protect from the blaze.

  • The General Sherman tree is the world’s largest in terms of volume and exists in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of the national park. As per recent estimates, General Sherman is about 2,200 years old.

  • It stands at a height of 275 feet (taller than the leaning tower of Pisa) and has a diameter of 36 feet at the base. Even 60 feet above the base, the tree has a diameter of 17.5 feet.

Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

BLACK TIGERS
A team of scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore has resolved the genetic mystery of Simlipal’s so-called black tigers.

About:

  • The study found that a single genetic mutation in these tigers caused black stripes to broaden or spread into the tawny background.

  • Tigers have a distinctive dark stripe pattern on a light background of white or golden.

  • A rare pattern variant, distinguished by stripes that are broadened and fused together, is also observed in both wild and captive populations.

  • This is known as pseudo-melanism, which is different from true melanism, a condition characterised by unusually high deposition of melanin, a dark pigment.

  • While truly melanistic tigers are yet to be recorded, pseudo-melanistic ones have been camera-trapped repeatedly, and only, in Simlipal, a 2,750-km tiger reserve in Odisha, since 2007.

  • Through whole-genome data and pedigree-based association analyses from zoo tigers, the study found that pseudo-melanism is linked to a single mutation in Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), a gene responsible for similar traits in other cat species.

Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

MeghEA
Meghalaya Enterprise Architecture Project (MeghEA) was launched by IT Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw and CM Meghalaya Shri Conrad Sangma.

About:

  • The MeghEA initiative is spread across 6 pillars i.e. Governance, Human Resources, Entrepreneurship, Primary Sector, Infrastructure and Environment, and envision to make Meghalaya a high income state by 2030.

  • The project aims to improve service delivery and governance for the people using power of Digital technologies.

  • With the notification of India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) in 2018, design and implementation of integrated, nationally portable and scalable digital platforms have gained a new momentum.

  • During the launch of the North East vision document in Aug 2018, Meghalaya was selected as the pilot first pilot State for preparation of Meghalaya Enterprise Architecture (MeghEA) and design and implementation of MeghEA integrated Finance Solution Architecture.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

EXERCISE SURYA KIRAN
15th Edition of Indo - Nepal Joint Military Training, Exercise Surya Kiran between Indian Army and Nepali Army is commencing from 20 September 2021 at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.

About:

  • This joint military training will go a long way in improving bilateral relations and also will be a major step towards further strengthening the traditional friendship between the two nations.

  • Last edition of Exercise Surya Kiran was conducted in Nepal in 2019.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

NAMAMI GANGE MISSION
The 3rd edition of e-auction of prestigious and memorable gifts presented to Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi is being held from 17th September to 7th October 2021 through the web portal https://pmmementos.gov.in.

About:

  • The mementos include sports gear and equipment gifted to the Prime Minister by winners of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

  • Other interesting interesting artefacts includereplica of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Chardham, Rudraksh Convention Centre, models, sculptures, paintings, angavastras among others.

  • Proceeds from the e-Auction shall go to the NamamiGange Mission aimed at conserving and rejuvenating Ganga.

  • Narendra Modi is the first ever Prime Minister of India, who has decided to auction all the gifts he receives for a noble cause of conserving the lifeline of the country- the river Ganges through “NamamiGange”.

  • ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 18, 2021

JIGYASA
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh announced that “JIGYASA”, a student- scientist connect programme of the Ministry of Science & Technology will be extended to cover schools in over 700 districts of India within one year.

About:

  • The programme jointly executed with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan is currently operational in 170 districts of the country.

  • Focus of “JIGYASA” is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend student’s classroom learning with that of a very well planned research laboratory based learning.

Source : PIB
Education

Sept. 17, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

PROF. S.K. JOSHI LABORATORY EXCELLENCE AWARD
Quality Council of India (QCI) launched the Prof. S.K. Joshi Laboratory Excellence Award.

About:

  • This is country’s first-of-its- kind Laboratory Excellence Award.

  • This Award has been instituted to promote Laboratory Quality and performance improvement in the country.

  • The award has been incepted to ensure the laboratory’s commitment to achieve excellence in providing high precision testing and calibration services in line with the prevalent national/international quality systems legislations, including Health, Safety & Environment.

  • This award will be open to all currently operational Laboratories pertaining to Testing, Calibration & Medical including their Proficiency Testing Providers & Reference Material Producers located in India.

Important Info :

Prof. S.K. Joshi

  • Late Prof. S.K. Joshi was a luminary in the field of Science and Academica.
  • Joshi made a significant contribution in improving scientific research in India by serving as President-INSA, DG-CSIR, Director-NPL and Chairman-NABL.
  • Prof. Joshi was felicitated with Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, CV Raman Medal of INSA and several other prestigious awards.
Source : PIB
Awards

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

POWER FINANCE CORPORATION LTD (PFC)
PFC issues India’s first-ever Euro Green Bond.

About:

  • Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), the leading NBFC in power sector, has successfully issued its maiden Euro 300 million 7-year Euro Bond issuance on 13.09.2021.

  • The pricing of 1.841% achieved is the lowest yield locked in by an Indian Issuer in the Euro markets.

  • It is the first ever Euro denominated Green bond issuance from India. Moreover, it is the first ever Euro issuance by an Indian NBFC and the first Euro bond issuance from India since 2017.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

REPORT ON REFORMS IN URBAN PLANNING CAPACITY IN INDIA
NITI Aayog today launched a report titled ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’, on measures to ramp up urban planning capacity in India.

About:

The report makes several recommendations that can unblock bottlenecks in the value chain of urban planning capacity in India. Some of them are:

  • Every city must aspire to become a ‘Healthy City for All’ by 2030. The report recommends a Central Sector Scheme ‘500 Healthy Cities Programme’, for a period of 5 years, wherein priority cities and towns would be selected jointly by the states and local bodies.

  • Formation of an apex committee at the state level is recommended to undertake a regular review of planning legislations (including town and country planning or urban and regional development acts or other relevant acts).

  • It recommends a ‘Citizen Outreach Campaign’ for demystifying urban planning.

  • The Central universities and technical institutions in all the other States/UTs are encouraged to offer postgraduate degree programmes (MTech Planning) to cater to the requirement of planners in the country in a phased manner.

  • The report recommends the constitution of a ‘National Council of Town and Country Planners’ as a statutory body of the Government of India.

  • Also, a ‘National Digital Platform of Town and Country Planners’ is suggested to be created within the National Urban Innovation Stack of MoHUA. This portal will enable self-registration of all planners and evolve as a marketplace for potential employers and urban planners.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

WORLD OZONE DAY
India observes the 27th Global Ozone Day.

About:

  • World Ozone Day is celebrated on 16th September each year to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental treaty for phasing out of production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances, that came into force on this day in 1987.

  • The Day is celebrated every year to spread awareness among people about the depletion of Ozone Layer and the measures taken/ to be taken to preserve it.

  • The Ozone Cell, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India has been celebrating the World Ozone Day since 1995 at the National and State levels.

  • The theme World Ozone Day 2021 is “Montreal Protocol - Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool”.

Important Info :

India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)

  • The Ministry for Environment released the Action Plan for implementing recommendations of the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) for the thematic Area Space Cooling in Buildings.
  • The Action Plan has been developed after mapping of the recommendations given in the ICAP and after detailed discussions with various stakeholders including line departments and Ministries.
  • The India cooling action plan (ICAP), the first of its kind in the world to be developed by the MoEF&CC, addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand through synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits.
  • The ICAP aims to reduce both direct and indirect emissions.
Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

BAIJAYANT PANDA COMMITTEE
Ministry of Defence has constituted a High Level Expert Committee, under the chairmanship of former Member of Parliament Shri Baijayant Panda, for a comprehensive review of National Cadet Corps (NCC) in order to make it more relevant in changed times.

About:

  • The Terms of Reference of the Committee, inter-alia, broadly provide for
    • suggesting measures which can empower NCC cadets to contribute more effectively towards nation building and national developmental efforts in various sectors;

    • propose measures for gainful engagement of its Alumni for betterment of the organisation as a whole and to study/recommend best practices of similar international youth organisations for inclusion in the NCC curriculum.



  • The NCC is the largest uniformed organisation which aims at developing character, discipline, a secular outlook and ideals of selfless service amongst young citizens. It also aims to create a pool of organised, trained and motivated youth with leadership qualities in all walks of life.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

PLANT-BASED mRNA VACCINES
University of California, Riverside scientists are studying whether they can turn edible plants like lettuce into mRNA vaccine factories.

About:

  • Messenger RNA or mRNA technology, used in Covid-19 vaccines, works by teaching our cells to recognize and protect us against infectious diseases. One of the challenges with this new technology is that it must be kept cold to maintain stability during transport and storage.

  • If this new project is successful, plant-based mRNA vaccines — which can be eaten — could overcome this challenge with the ability to be stored at room temperature, the University said in a press release.

  • The project, backed by a US $500,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation, has three goals:
    • showing that DNA containing the mRNA vaccines can be successfully delivered into the part of plant cells where it will replicate,

    • demonstrating the plants can produce enough mRNA to rival a traditional shot, and

    • finally, determining the right dosage. 



Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

AUKUS
The USA administration announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. (AUKUS).

About:

  • The security grouping AUKUS will focus on advancing strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region

  • A central feature of the partnership would involve a trilateral 18-month effort to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines which are quieter, more capable (than their conventional counterparts) and can be deployed for longer periods, needing to surface less frequently.

  • The partnership would also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries and also cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).

  • Australia has felt increasing pressure from an assertive China, like other countries in the region, and has sought to strengthen its partnerships with India, the U.S. and the U.K., including through ‘plurilateral’ forums.

  • However, as in the case of the Quad, the U.S. officials denied the partnership was a response to China.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

ALL INDIA DEBT & INVESTMENT SURVEY
The All India Debt & Investment Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) was released recently.

About:

  • The number of indebted households have risen sharply in rural India, with the average debt shooting up by 84% between 2012 and 2018, and COVID-19 has likely further doubled all households’ borrowings by 2021.

  • Rural households’ average debt grew from ₹32,522 in 2012 to ₹59,748 by June 2018, while urban households’ average debt increased by 42% in the same period to little more than ₹1.20 lakh.

  • The number of households in debt as measured by the incidence of indebtedness among surveyed households, had risen to 35% in rural India from 31.4% in the previous survey, while it remained static at 22.4% for urban households. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

CRIMES IN INDIA
According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, there was a 28% increase in the registration of cases in 2020 in the country compared to 2019, primarily owing to the violation of COVID-19 norms.

About:

  • An almost 21-fold jump was recorded in cases of disobedience to the order duly promulgated by public servant, and over four times in cases involving violations of other State local laws,

  • Crimes against Scheduled Castes, with a total of 50,291 cases, showed an increase of 9.4%. Simple hurt with 32.9% (16,543) formed the largest chunk, followed by cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act with 8.5% (4,273) and cases under criminal intimidation with 7.5% (3,788).

  • A total of 66,01,285 cognisable crimes, comprising more than 42.54 lakh Indian Penal Code (IPC) offences and over 23.46 lakh Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes, were registered in 2020, the report noted.

  • Crime rate registered per lakh population has increased from 385.5 in 2019 to 487.8 in 2020.

  • As the country remained under complete lockdown from March 25 to May 31 last year during the first wave of COVID-19, cases of crime against women, children and senior citizens, theft, burglary, robbery and dacoity declined.

  • Cases of murder showed a marginal increase of 1% to 29,193.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 17, 2021

GAMBLING
An Interpol operation targeting illegal gambling during the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship has led to 1,400 arrests and the seizure of $7.9 million in cash across Asia and Europe. The operation involved enforcement agencies of 28 countries, including India.

About:

  • Illegal gambling generates significant profits for organised crime networks and is often closely associated with other crimes such as money laundering and corruption.

  • The operation was coordinated by Interpol’s Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption units, with support from the Asia-Pacific Expert Group on Organised Crime (APEG) and the Interpol Match Fixing Task Force (IMFTF).

  • In India, the Central Bureau of Investigation is the nodal body for Interpol and shares the required information to its counterparts.

Source : Times of India
Defence & Security

Sept. 16, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

TARBALLS
In this month alone, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has removed over 20,000 kg of tarballs from Juhu and Versova beaches.

About:

  • Tarballs are dark-coloured, sticky balls of oil that form when crude oil floats on the ocean surface. Tarballs are formed by weathering of crude oil in marine environments.

  • They are transported from the open sea to the shores by sea currents and waves.

  • Some of the balls are as big as a basketball while others are smaller globules.

  • Tarballs stick to the cleaning machinery and are very difficult to wash off.

Important Info :

Why are tarballs found on the beaches during the monsoon?

  • It is suspected that the oil comes from the large cargo ships in the deep sea and gets pushed to the shore as tarballs during monsoon due to wind speed and direction.
  • All the oil spilt in the Arabian sea eventually gets deposited on the western coast in the form of tarballs in the monsoon season when wind speed and circulation pattern favour transportation of these tarballs.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

‘SHOONYA’ CAMPAIGN
NITI Aayog, with RMI and RMI India’s support, launched Shoonya—an initiative to promote zero-pollution delivery vehicles by working with consumers and industry.

About:

  • The campaign aims to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the urban deliveries segment and create consumer awareness about the benefits of zero-pollution delivery.

  • As part of the campaign, a corporate branding and certification programme is being launched to recognise and promote industry’s efforts towards transitioning to EVs for final-mile deliveries.

  • An online tracking platform will share the campaign’s impact through data such as vehicle kilometers electrified, carbon savings, criteria pollutant savings and other benefits from clean delivery vehicles.

Important Info :

Background

  • Urban freight vehicles account for 10 percent of freight transportation-related CO2 emissions in India, and these emissions are expected to grow by 114 percent by 2030.
  • EVs emit no tailpipe emissions, which can contribute immensely to an improved air quality.
Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

TRANSPARENT CERAMICS
Indian researchers have developed transparent ceramics, reaching theoretical transparency through a technique called colloidal processing followed by simultaneous application of temperature and pressure, for the first time in India.

About:

  • The material can be used for thermal imaging applications, especially in harsh service conditions and personal protection systems such as, helmets, face shields, and goggles.

  • Transparent ceramics is a new class of advanced materials with unique transparency and excellent mechanical properties.

  • These materials can be designed not only for transparent to visible light but also for ultraviolet (UV), Infrared (IR), and Radiofrequency (RF), giving opportunity for diverse applications.

  • Though produced by different countries globally, transparent ceramics are restricted in supply as they can be used for strategic applications in infantry personal protection systems involving thermal imaging such as helmets, face shields, and goggles.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

STROPHODUS JAISALMERENSIS
In a rare discovery, teeth of new species of hybodontshark of Jurassic age have been reported for the first time from Jaisalmer by a team of officers from the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Western Region, Jaipur.

About:

  • Hybodont sharks have been reported for the first time from the Jurassic rocks (approximately, between 160 and 168 million-years-old) of the Jaisalmer region of Rajasthan.

  • Hybodonts, an extinct group of sharks, was a dominant group of fishes in both marine and fluvial environments during the Triassic and early Jurassic time.

  • However, hybodont sharks started to decline in marine environments from the Middle Jurassic onwards until they formed a relatively minor component of open-marine shark assemblages.

  • Hybodonts finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous time 65 million years ago.

  • Significantly, the newly discovered crushing teeth from Jaisalmer represent a new species named by the research team as Strophodus jaisalmerensis.

  • The genus Strophodus has been identified for the first time from the Indian subcontinent and is only the third such record from Asia, the other two being from Japan and Thailand.

  • The new species has recently been included in the Shark references.com, an international platform operating in association with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Species Survival Commission (SSC), and Germany.

Source : LiveMint
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

REFORMS IN THE TELECOM SECTOR
The Union Cabinet approved a number of structural and process reforms in the Telecom sector.

About:

  • The cabinet approved 9 structural reforms and 5 process reforms for the telecom sector.

  • Adjusted gross revenue (AGR) definition has been rationalised to exclude non-telecom revenues prospectively and 4-year moratorium on telecom dues was approved as well.

  • For all the telecom service providers (TSPs), cabinet approved moratorium/deferment of upto 4 years in annual payments of dues arising out of the AGR judgement, by protecting the Net Present Value (NPV) of the due amounts being protected.

  • To encourage investment, 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) under automatic route is permitted in telecom sector.

  • Spectrum user charges have been rationalised. There will be now an annual compounding of rates. Spectrum can now be surrendered, spectrum can also be shared.

  • In future auctions, tenure of spectrum will be increased to 30 years from 20 currently.

  • The KYC process for shifting to postpaid from prepaid has ben done away with.

Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

KUSHINAGAR AIRPORT
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has declared Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as a Customs notified airport.

About:

  • This would also facilitate international passenger movements including that of Buddhist pilgrims.

  • Kushinagar is a town in the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh.

  • It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after his death.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

PLI SCHEME FOR AUTO INDUSTRY
Union Cabinet has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile Industry.

About:

  • The PLI scheme for the auto sector will incentivize high value Advanced Automotive Technology vehicles and products. The incentive structure will encourage industry to make fresh investments for indigenous global supply chain of Advanced Automotive Technology products.

  • It is estimated that over a period of five years, the PLI Scheme for Automobile and Auto Components Industry will lead to fresh investment of over  ₹42,500 crore,  incremental production of over  ₹2.3 lakh crore and will create additional employment opportunities of over 7.5 lakh jobs.

  • The PLI Scheme for auto sector is open to existing automotive companies as well as new investors who are currently not in automobile or auto component manufacturing business.

  • The scheme has two components viz Champion OEM Incentive Scheme and Component Champion Incentive Scheme.
    • The Champion OEM Incentive scheme is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable on Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles of all segments.

    • The Component Champion Incentive scheme is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable on Advanced Automotive Technology components of vehicles, Completely Knocked Down (CKD)/ Semi Knocked Down (SKD) kits, Vehicle aggregates of 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers, passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and tractors etc.



Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

PLI SCHEME FOR DRONE INDUSTRY
Union Cabinet has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Drone Industry.

About:

  • The PLI Scheme for the Drones and Drone components industry addresses the strategic, tactical and operational uses of this revolutionary technology.

  • The total amount allocated for the PLI scheme for drones and drone components is INR 120 crore spread over three financial years.

  • The incentive for a manufacturer of drones and drone components shall be as high as 20% of the value addition made by her.

  • The Government, has agreed to keep the PLI rate constant at 20% for all three years, an exceptional treatment given only to the drone industry. In PLI schemes for other sectors, the PLI rate reduces every year.

  • The Government has agreed to widen the coverage of the incentive scheme to include developers of drone-related IT products also.The PLI for Drones and Drone components industry, will over a period of three years, lead to investments worth ₹ 5,000 Crore, increase in eligible sales of ₹ 1500 crore and create additional employment of about 10,000 jobs.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

EXERCISE PEACEFUL MISSION
Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is a Multilateral Exercise, which is conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.

About:

  • The 6th edition of Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is being hosted by Russia in the Orenburg Region of South West Russia from 13 to 25 September 2021.

  • The aim of the exercise is to foster close relations between SCO member states and to enhance abilities of the military leaders to command multi-national military contingents.

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai on 15 June 2001.

  • The SCO currently comprises eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia).

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Sept. 16, 2021

ENGINEER’S DAY
To celebrate the birth anniversary of the great engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, India celebrates Engineer’s Day on 15 Sept.

About:

  • Visvesvaraya (1861 – 1962) was an Indian engineer, scholar, statesman.

  • He was the chief engineer responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya district. He was also the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad.

  • He also served as the Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918. It was during his period as Dewan that the Mysore Soap Factory (which makes the iconic Mysore sandal soap), the Bangalore Agricultural University, the Bank of Mysore and the Bangalore Press were set up.

  • He penned his autobiography, Memoirs of my Working Life, in 1951.

  • “Industrialise or Perish” was Visvesvaraya’s mantra.

  • In 1915, He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good.

  • He received Bharat Ratna, in 1955.

  • He is held in high regard as a pre-eminent engineer of India. 15 September is celebrated as Engineer's Day in India in his memory.

Source : Indian Express
History
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