Sept. 30, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

RAILWAY LINE DOUBLING PROJECTS
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the doubling of the Nimach-Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh) railway line as well as of the Rajkot-Kanalus (Gujarat) railway line, with an estimated project cost of over ₹1,000 crore each.

About:

  • The total length of doubling of the line for the Nimach-Ratlam line is 132.92 km, with an estimated project cost of ₹1,095.88 crore, and the estimated length for the Rajkot-Kanalus line is 111.2 km, with an estimated cost of ₹1,080.58 crore.

  • Both projects are targeted for completion by 2024-25.

  • The Rajkot-Kanalus section is a part of the busy Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Viramgam-Okha section.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

‘TERMS OF REFERENCE’ FOR NAVY TO NAVY TALKS
The Indian Navy and the Australian Navy signed the ‘Terms of Reference’ (ToR) for the conduct of the navy to navy talks under the framework of the ‘Joint Guidance for the India-Australia Navy to Navy Relationship’ document, signed by the two Navy Chiefs in August.

About:

  • This is the first such document signed by the Indian Navy with any country.

  • The document set the navy to navy talks as the principal medium for guiding the bilateral cooperation, the Indian Navy said in a statement.

  • The document would be pivotal in consolidating the shared commitment to promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The ToR detailed the modalities for engagement at various levels between the two navies and streamlined the process.

  • The document provided flexibility for the implementation of separate agreements based on the specific outcomes of the talks.

  • The highlights of the document included close cooperation in regional and multilateral fora, including Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

DEFENCE ACQUISITION COUNCIL
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in its meeting of 29 September 2021 held under the Chairmanship of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for Capital Acquisitions proposals for modernization and operational needs of the Indian Armed Forces amounting to approx. Rs.13,165 cr.

About:

  • Of the total amount approved, procurement worth Rs. 11,486cr. (87%) is from the domestic sources.

  • Key approvals include helicopters, guided munition and rocket ammunition.

  • Looking into the need of the Indian Army for an Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Squadron, to improve its integral lift capability ensuring its operational preparedness, the DAC accorded approval of procurement of 25 ALH Mark III helicopters from M/s HAL under Buy Indian-IDDM at an approx. cost of Rs.3,850 crore.

  • Giving boost to Indigenous Design and Development of ammunitions, DAC accorded approval for procurement of Terminally Guided Munition (TGM) and HEPF/RHE Rocket Ammunition under Buy(Indian-IDDM) category at an approx cost ofRs.4,962 cr.from domestic sources.

  • In addition, the DAC also approved a few amendments to the DAP 2020 as a part of Business Process Re-engineering to ensure further ease of doing business for the industry as well as measures to enhance procurement efficiency and reducing timelines.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

RENEWABLE ENERGY CERTIFICATE (REC) MECHANISM
Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy has given his assent to amendments in the existing Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism. The intent behind this decision is to align the ‘mechanism’ with the emerging changes in the power scenario and also to promote new renewable technologies.

The Salient features of changes proposed in revamped REC mechanism are:

  • Validity of REC would be perpetual i.e., till it is sold.

  • Floor and forbearance prices are not required to be specified.

  • CERC to have monitoring and the surveillance mechanism to ensure that there is no hoarding of RECs.

  • The RE generator who are eligible for REC, will be eligible for issuance of RECs for the period of PPA as per the prevailing guidelines. The existing RE projects that are eligible for REC would continue to get RECs for 25 years.

  • A technology multiplier can be introduced for promotion of new and high priced RE technologies, which can be allocated in various baskets specific to technologies depending on maturity.

  • RECs can be issued to obligated entities (including DISCOMs and open access consumers) which purchase RE Power beyond their RPO compliance notified by the Central Government.

  • No REC to be issued to the beneficiary of subsidies/concessions or waiver of any other charges. The FOR to define concessional charges uniformly for denying the RECs.

  • Allowing traders and bilateral transactions in REC mechanism.

  • The changes proposed in revamped REC mechanism will be implemented by CERC through regulatory process.

  • To address mismatch between availability of RE sources and the requirement of the obligated entities to meet their renewable purchase obligation (RPO), Pan-India market-based Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) Mechanism was introduced in the year 2010.

The proposed changes will provide some flexibility to the players, additional avenues, rationalization and also addressing the RECs validity period uncertainty issues.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

IndiaXports 2021 PORTAL
Union Minister for MSMEs virtually inaugurated the India Export Initiative and IndiaXports 2021 Portal of India SME Forum in New Delhi.

About:

  • IndiaXports aims to orient MSMEs free of cost, with the objective of focussing on the untapped export potential in existing tariff lines and supporting MSMEs in order to grow the number of exporting MSMEs and increase MSME exports by 50% in 2022 and contributing to the PM’s dream of the US $5 Trillion Economy.

  • This initiative features an Info Portal which serves as a knowledge base for exports by Indian MSMEs with the required information related to export potential for all the 456 tariff lines along with the potential markets as well as trends in exports, export procedures and lots more.

  • Apart from an export help desk, Instructor led orientation will also be provided to MSMEs through a series of sessions for specific sectors highlighting the opportunities in specific products in international markets.

  • The initiative targets 1 lakh+ MSMEs desirous of knowing more about exports and hand holding 30,000+ MSMEs to start exporting, doubling the base of active exporters.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

EMERGENCY CREDIT LINE GUARANTEE SCHEME (ECLGS)
ECLGS’ scope expanded and scheme extended till 31.03.2022.

About:

  • With a view to support various businesses impacted by the second wave of COVID 19 pandemic, it has been has decided to extend the timeline of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) till 31.03.2022 or till guarantees for an amount of Rs 4.5 lakh crore are issued under the scheme, whichever is earlier.

  • Further, the last date of disbursement under the scheme has also been extended to 30.06. 2022.

The following modifications have been made in the scheme to enable support to businesses impacted by the second wave of COVID

  • Existing borrowers under ECLGS 1.0 & 2.0 would be eligible for additional credit support of upto 10% of total credit outstanding as on 29.02.2020 or 31.03.2021, whichever is higher.

  • Businesses who have not availed assistance under ECLGS (ECLGS 1.0 or 2.0), can avail credit  support  of upto 30% of their credit outstanding as on 31.03.2021.

  • Businesses in sectors specified under ECLGS 3.0, who have previously not availed ECLGS, can avail credit support up to 40% of their credit outstanding as on 31.03.2021, to the maximum of Rs.200 crore per borrower;

  • Incremental credit can be availed within these limits by existing ECLGS borrowers whose eligibility increased because of change in cut off date to 31.03.2021 from 29.02.2020.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

NATIONAL EXPORT INSURANCE ACCOUNT (NEIA) SCHEME
Government of India has approved continuation of the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) scheme and capital infusion of Rs. 1,650 crore Grant-in-Aid to NEIA over a period of five years, i.e. from FY 2021-2022 to FY 2025-2026.

About:

  • NEIA Trust was established in 2006 to promote Medium and Long-Term (MLT)/ project exports by enabling credit and political insurance.

  • NEIA supports projects which are commercially viable and are strategically important.

  • Since inception, NEIA has extended 213 covers, with a consolidated project value of Rs. 53,000 crores, to 52 countries as of 31st August 2021

  • Its impact in enabling project exports has been most significant in Africa and South Asia.

  • The capital infusion in NEIA Trust will help the Indian Project Exporters (IPE) to tap the huge potential of project exports in focus market.

  • The NEIA Trust promotes Medium and Long Term (MLT) /project exports by extending (partial/full) support to covers issued by ECGC (ECGC Ltd, formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.) to MLT/project export and to Exim Bank for Buyer’s Credit (BC-NEIA) tied to project exports from India.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

CIPET: INSTITUTE OF PETROCHEMICALS TECHNOLOGY, JAIPUR
Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate CIPET: Institute of Petrochemicals Technology, Jaipur.

About:

  • Together with the Government of Rajasthan, the Government of India has established CIPET: Institute of Petrochemicals Technology, Jaipur.

  • It is self-sustainable and dedicatedly serves the needs of the petrochemical and allied industries.

  • It will provide education to youth to become skilled technical professionals.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

NATIONAL SCHEME FOR PM POSHAN IN SCHOOLS
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the continuation of ‘National Scheme for PM POSHAN in Schools’ for the five year period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with the financial outlay of ₹ 54061.73 crores from the Central Government and ₹ 31,733.17 crore from State Governments & UT administrations.

About:

  • Central Government will also bear additional cost of about ₹ 45,000 crore on foodgrains. Therefore, the total scheme budget will amount to ₹ 1,30,794.90 crore.

  • The CCEA cleared the PM POSHAN Scheme for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

  • This is a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme which covers all school children studying in Classes I-VIII of Government, Government-Aided Schools.

  • The earlier name of the scheme was ‘National Scheme for Mid Day Meal in Schools’ popularly known as Mid Day Meal Scheme.

  • The scheme covers about 11.80 crore children studying in 11.20 lakh schools across the country. During 2020-21, Government of India invested more than ₹ 24,400 crore in the scheme, including cost of about ₹ 11,500 crore on foodgrains.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2021

ELDER LINE
On the occassion of International Day of Older Persons (1st October), Vice President of India will dedicate the Elderly Line 14567 to the Nation.

Timeline

  • Government of Telangana and Tata Trusts piloted the helpline in Telangana between March 2019 and September 2020.

  • Based on this experience, MOSJE decided to establish state helplines at each state level and have a single call management platform and unique number (14567) that will enable services for the senior citizens through a National level structure. Thus Elder Line was conceptualised.

Features

  • Elder Line will operate on all seven days of the week from 8 AM to 8 PM since it is categorised under non-emergency service and extension of working hours will be backed by findings and requirement.

  • Elder Line is a National Helpline for Senior Citizens (NHSC) set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) and State Governments.

  • National Implementing Agency (an empowered Committee) set up by MOSJE along with NISD (National Institute for Social Defence) is currently hosting the Elder Line along with the States.

  • Operationally, the state agencies will be working closely with all state departments and district functionaries to deliver services.

  • Elder Line 14567 is a toll-free number open 12 Hours a day (8:00 AM to 8:00 PM), that provides free information, guidance, emotional support, field intervention in cases of abuse & rescues in order to improve the quality of life of senior citizens.

  • In case of emergencies like pandemic, this helpline can support senior citizens with the right and on-time information for medical needs, emotional support and other associated needs in collaboration with all the state departments.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Sept. 29, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

RIGHT TO INFORMATION
Bihar has proved to be hostile terrain for Right to Information (RTI) activists, with as many as 20 having been killed since 2010. Six activists were killed in 2018 alone.

About:

  • The RTI Act came into force in June 2005.

  • Sashidhar Mishra from Begusarai district was the first RTI activist killed in 2010 and just last week, Bipin Agrawal, 46, was killed, allegedly for exposing encroachment on government lands in East Champaran district.

  • Agrawal had filed at least 900 RTI applications seeking details on government land encroachment in the district.

  • In 2011, the Whistleblowers Protection Act was drafted. The Act was later renamed The Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014 and was passed by both Houses of Parliament, but never notified.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

ORDNANCE FACTORY BOARD (OFB)
The Defence Ministry has issued an order for the dissolution of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) with effect from October 1 upon which its assets, employees and management would be transferred to seven newly constituted defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs).

About:

  • This would mean the end of the OFB, the establishment of which was accepted by the British in 1775.

  • On June 16, the Union Cabinet had approved a long-awaited reform plan to corporatise the OFB, which has 41 factories, into seven fully government-owned corporate entities on the lines of DPSUs.

  • With effect from October 1, the management, control, operations and maintenance of these 41 production units and identified non-production units would be transferred to seven government companies: Munitions India Ltd., Armoured Vehicles Nigam Ltd., Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Ltd., Troop Comforts Ltd., Yantra India Ltd., India Optel Ltd., and Gliders India Ltd.

  • All the employees of OFB (Group A, B and C) belonging to the production units and also the identified non-production units shall be transferred en masse to the new DPSUs on terms of foreign service without any deputation allowance initially for a period of two years.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

INCOME LIMIT OF DISABLED DEPENDENTS FOR FAMILY PENSION
Ministry of Defence, Government of India has taken a decision to enhance the income criteria for grant of family pension to children/siblings suffering from mental or physical disability.

About:

  • Accordingly, such child/sibling shall be eligible for family pension for life, if his/her overall income from sources other than family pension remains less than the entitled family pension at ordinary rate i.e 30% of the last pay drawn by the deceased government servant/pensioner concerned plus the dearness relief admissible thereon.

  • The financial benefit in such cases shall accrue with effect from 08.02.2021.

  • Presently, the disabled child/sibling is eligible for family pension if overall monthly income of disabled child/sibling from sources other than family pension is not more than Rs. 9,000/- along with dearness relief thereon.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

ZOJILA TUNNEL
Government is pushing to complete the massive Zojila tunnel, its showpiece infra project in Kashmir and Ladakh, before Republic Day, 2024. Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari inspected the west portal of the tunnel in Baltal.

About:

  • At 14.15 km, the Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel, and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel. A connecting tunnel from Z-Morh on NH1 to the Zojila tunnel will be built in the Zojila Ghats between Sonmarg and Kargil.

  • When complete, the Zojila tunnel will allow travel between Srinagar and Ladakh throughout the year.

  • The distance from Baltal to Minamarg will come down to 13 km from the present 40 km, travel time is expected to be cut by an hour and a half, and the journey is expected be less strenuous.

  • The project is expected to lead to integrated development of both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Important Info :

Divisions

  • The work on the entire 33-km span is divided into two divisions.
  • The first part involves development and expansion of the 18.475-km highway between Z-Morh to Zojila. A 3-km stretch will be expanded; the rest will be newly developed. The highway will have 2 twin-tube tunnels, 5 bridges, and 2 snow galleries.
  • The second part is building the 14.15-km Zojila tunnel itself — 9.5 m wide, 7.57 m high, 2 lanes, in shape of a horseshoe.
  • In addition, a 2,350-m concrete ‘cut and cover’ tunnel will be built, along with 3 ventilation caverns/shafts. Works also include construction of portals, control buildings, ventilation buildings and muck disposables along the route.
Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON CHILDREN
n a study published in the journal Science, researchers have found that children born today will be hit much harder by extreme climate events than today’s adults.

About:

  • During his or her lifetime, a child born in 2021 is likely to experience on average twice as many wildfires, two to three times more droughts, almost three times more river floods and crop failures and about seven times more heat waves compared to a person who is, say, 60 years old today.

  • Under a scenario of current “insufficient” climate policies, dangerous extreme heatwave events, which affect about 15% of the global land area today, could treble to 46% by the end of this century.

  • However, if countries are able to follow through with their climate policies as decided under the Paris Climate Agreement, this effect could be limited to 22%, which is just seven percentage points more than the global land area that is affected today.

  • In terms of experiencing droughts, heatwaves, river floods and crop failures, people under the age of 40 today will live what the researchers call “an unprecedented life”. 

Important Info :

Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP)

  • The study is based on data from the Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP).
  • This is a community-driven climate-impacts modelling initiative that assess the differential impacts of climate change.
  • The ISIMIP data were used alongside country-scale, life-expectancy data, population data and temperature trajectories from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

ANTI-DEFECTION LAW
Jignesh Mewani, an independent MLA from Gujarat, has said he has joined the Congress “in spirit” as he could not formally do so, having been elected as an independent.

About:

  • The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, popularly known as the anti-defection law, specifies the circumstances under which changing of political parties by legislators invites action under the law. It includes situations in which an independent MLA, too, joins a party after the election.

  • The law covers three scenarios with respect to shifting of political parties by an MP or an MLA.

  • The first is when a member elected on the ticket of a political party “voluntarily gives up” membership of such a party or votes in the House against the wishes of the party.

  • The second is when a legislator who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.

  • In both these instances, the legislator loses the seat in the legislature on changing (or joining) a party.

  • The third scenario relates to nominated MPs. In their case, the law gives them six months to join a political party, after being nominated. If they join a party after such time, they stand to lose their seat in the House.

  • Disqualification: Under the anti-defection law, the power to decide the disqualification of an MP or MLA rests with the presiding officer of the legislature. The law does not specify a time frame in which such a decision has to be made. 

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

NATIONAL ACTION PLAN FOR DOG MEDIATED RABIES ELIMINATION
On the occasion of World Rabies Day, Union Minister for Health and Union Minister of Animal Husbandry unveiled the National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination by 2030 (NAPRE).

About:

  • The Ministers urged all the States and UTs to make Rabies a notifiable Disease. They also launched “Joint Inter-Ministerial Declaration Support Statement” for Elimination of Dog mediated Rabies from India by 2030 through One Health Approach.

  • Villagers in India refer to the disease as ‘Hadakwa’ unfamiliar with the English name. The mere mention of ‘Hadakwa’ induces terror in rural areas. They advised the senior officials present to use the more familiar term ‘Hadakwa’ in popularizing the activities to be taken up under the Plan.

  • Rabies is 100% fatal but 100% vaccine preventable. 33% of global rabies deaths are recorded in India. 

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

COVID TEEKA SANG SURAKSHIT VAN
The “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, DhanaurUddyam” campaign was virtually launched by Shri Arjun Munda, Minister forTribal Affairs, Government of India on 15th July, 2021 to accelerate the pace of Covid vaccination among tribal communities of India.

About:

  • TRIFED in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO has planned to roll out this campaign across the country, with the help of partner agencies at State level in tribal districts.

  • The campaign targets to leverage the 45,000 Van Dhan Self Help Groups (VDSHGs) of the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) to promote livelihoods with health.

  • The campaign is based on 3 J’s Jeevan (Life)Jeevika (Livelihood)Jaagrookta (Awareness).

  • It employs awareness generation in local languages to promote vaccine uptake and COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

KAPAS PLUCKER MACHINES
The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has so far distributed 5543 kapas plucker machines valuing around Rs. 4 crores to 5543 marginal and small farmers in all the cotton growing states (including aspirational districts) under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

About:

  • Most of the cotton in India is manually picked which is a labour intensive operation.

  • Unlike other major cotton producing Countries like USA, Australia etc, fully mechanized harvesting by big machines are not successful in India due to small land holdings of cotton farmers in India, sowing/picking pattern (3-4 picking) and different climatic condition in different States.

  • Therefore, hand held kapas plucker machine is one of the option to bring down the cost for the farmers and a remedy for contamination at farm level due to manual picking.

  • Hand held kapasplucker machine is a light weight (about 600 gram) machine which has a pair of rollers inside having small edged teeth on their outer periphery and is operated by a light weight 12 volt. Cotton gets entangled with the rollers and is collected directly into collection bag attached to it. Design of machine makes it easy to operate at field and affordable i.e. at nominal cost of Rs. 8000 per machine (approx.).

  • Advantage of kapas plucker machines is that it reduces the risks of health hazards to cotton farmers in manual picking (i.e. risk of insect bite, back pains due to standing posture for long hours, bruises/cutting on legs & hands etc).

Important Info :
  • CCI is a Nodal agency of Govt. of India under Ministry of Textiles for undertaking Minimum Support Price (MSP) operations of cotton in the event market rate of seed cotton falls below the MSP rates to protect the cotton farmers from distress sale.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2021

AMUL HONEY
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar launched 'Amul Honey- a product of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF)’ under active cooperation with 'National Bee Board (NBB)'.

About:

  • He emphasized the importance of National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) in increasing the income of small farmers, which is being implemented in the country for doubling income of farmers/beekeepers through beekeeping with the budgetary allocation of Rs. 500 crores.

  • That there are 86% small farmers in the country.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his desire for a sweet revolution on the soil of Gujarat

  • Quality of honey is a major concern in the country for which 5 large scale Regional Honey Testing Labs and 100 Mini Honey Testing Labs are being set up all over the country.

  • He also encouraged farmers/bee keepers that alongwith honey, they can also produce additional by products of beekeeping, viz.; bees wax, pollen, royal jelly, as these products have high demand and better prices in Indian and international market.

  • After implementation of National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM), thrust is being given on assuring quality of honey, aggregation of beekeepers, providing infrastructural facilities including honey testing labs, Madhukranti portal to stop adulteration in honey production.

Source : PIB
Economy

Sept. 28, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

AGRICULTURE
To create mass awareness for adoption of climate resilient technologies, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will dedicate 35 crop varieties with special traits to the Nation on 28th September.

About crop varieties with special traits

  • The crop varieties with special traits have been developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to address the twin challenges of climate change and malnutrition.

  • Thirty-five such crop varieties with special traits like climate resilience and higher nutrient content have been developed in the year 2021.

  • These include a drought tolerant variety of chickpea, wilt and sterility mosaic resistant pigeonpea, early maturing variety of soybean, disease resistant varieties of rice and biofortified varieties of wheat, pearl millet, maize and chickpea, quinoa, buckwheat, winged bean and faba bean.

About National Institute of Biotic Stress Management

  • The Prime Minister will also dedicate to the nation the newly constructed campus of National Institute of Biotic Stress Management Raipur.

  • The National Institute of Biotic Stress Management at Raipur has been established to take up the basic and strategic research in biotic stresses, develop human resources and provide policy support.

  • The institute has started PG courses from the academic session 2020-21.

About Green Campus Awards

  • On the occasion, the Prime Minister will distribute Green Campus Award to Agricultural Universities.

  • The Green Campus Awards has been initiated to motivate the State and Central Agricultural Universities to develop or adopt such practices that will render their campuses more green and clean, and motivate students to get involved in ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, ‘Waste to Wealth Mission’ and community connect as per the National Education Policy-2020.

Source : LiveMint
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

AKASH PRIME MISSILE
A new version of the Surface to Air Akash Missile – ‘Akash Prime’ has been successfully flight tested from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, Odisha on 27 September 2021.

About:

  • The missile intercepted and destroyed an unmanned aerial target mimicking enemy aircrafts, in its maiden flight test after improvements.

  • In comparison to the existing Akash System, Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active Radio Frequency (RF) seeker for improved accuracy. Other improvements also ensure more reliable performance under low temperature environments at higher altitudes.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

FOREIGN TRADE
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the existing foreign trade policy (FTP) will be extended till March 31, 2022.

About:

  • The Centre had earlier extended the FTP 2015-20 until September 30 this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. The FTP provides guidelines for enhancing exports to push economic growth and create jobs.

  • Goyal also inaugurated a trade facilitation portal that was developed by Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) to help exporters deal with challenges due to acute shortage of containers. The portal will bring exporters and logistics service providers (LSPs) on a single platform.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

ALL-INDIA QUARTERLY ESTABLISHMENT-BASED EMPLOYMENT SURVEY
The All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey, in a report released recently said that the overall employment numbers had increased by 29% from the base year of 2013-14.

About:

  • However, in the first quarter of this fiscal (April-June 2021), 27% of the establishments surveyed reported pandemic-related retrenchment.

  • The report, released by Labour and Employment Minister Bhupender Yadav, covered 10,593 firms that employed more than 10 workers and were spread over nine sectors that account for 85% of the total employment in such establishments.

  • Overall, employment stood at 3.08 crore in the first quarter, up from 2.37 crore as reported in the Sixth Economic Census (2013-2014). All but two sectors — trade and accommodation & restaurants — saw an increase in employment over the period.

  • The report said the IT/BPO sector had the most impressive growth (152%), followed by health (77%), transport (68%), financial services (48%), construction (42%), education (39%) and manufacturing (22%).

  • Manufacturing was found to account for 41% of the establishments, followed by education (22%) and health (8%).

  • There was a decline in employment in trade (25%) and accommodation and restaurants (13%).

  • The number of female workers showed a decline too, from 31% in the Sixth Economic Survey to 29% as of the first quarter of the quarterly employment survey.

  • While 27% of the establishments reported pandemic-induced retrenchment, the silver lining was that 81% of the workers had received their full wages during the lockdown (March 25 to June 30, 2020).

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

RIGHT TO GOVT. AID NOT FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
The right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to receive government aid is not a fundamental right. Both have to follow the rules of the aid, the Supreme Court held in a ruling.

About:

  • Whether it is an institution run by the majority or the minority, all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilisation of the grant-in-aid by an educational institution can be imposed.

  • All that Article 30(2) states is that on the ground that an institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language, grant of aid to that educational institution cannot be discriminated against, if other educational institutions are entitled to receive aid

  • The Bench said if the government made a policy call to withdraw aid, an institution cannot question the decision as a “matter of right”. An institution is free to choose to accept the grant with the conditions or go its own way, it said.

  • The judgment came in an appeal filed by Uttar Pradesh against a decision of the Allahabad High Court to declare unconstitutional a provision of the Intermediate Education Act, 1921.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

NATIONAL CADET CORPS (NCC)
Lieutenant General Gurbirpal Singh took over as the 34th Director General of National Cadet Corps (NCC) on September 27, 2021.

About:

  • National Cadet Corps (NCC) is a Tri-Services Organization, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, engaged in grooming the youth into disciplined and patriotic citizens. It is a voluntary organization which recruits cadets from high schools, colleges and universities all over India.

  • The Cadets are given basic military training in small arms and parades. They are given preference in military service over normal candidates during selections.

  • Background: It came into existence in 1948 under the National Cadet Corps Act, 1948.

  • Related Ministries: Defence Ministry deals with NCC at the National level. Education Ministry deals with NCC in all States.

  • Directorate General NCC: It is the national level HQ located at New Delhi. It is headed by the Director General (DG), an Army Officer of the rank of Lieutenant General.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

WHITE SHIPPING INFORMATION
Indian navy and Royal Navy of Oman signed an MOU on white shipping information exchange.

About:

  • In shipping terminology, white shipping information is about the exchange of advance information on the identity and movement of commercial, non-military merchant ships.

  • The signing of the MoU between Royal Navy of Oman and Indian Navy would facilitate information exchange on merchant shipping traffic, through IFC-IOR, India and MSC, Oman and contribute to enhanced maritime safety and security in the region.

  • The MoU was signed at Maritime Security Center (MSC), Muscat. The MSC was commissioned in 2013.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

PMFME SCHEME SEED CAPITAL MODULE
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme, virtually launched the Seed Capital Module.

About:

  • It was launched on Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) MIS Portal for seed capital assistance to members of urban Self Help Groups working in the food processing sector in India.

  • The seed capital portal can be accessed at https://nulm.gov.in/Auth/Login.aspx for Self Help Groups to avail the seed capital assistance of Rs.40,000 per SHG member under the PMFME Scheme.

Important Info :

About the PMFME Scheme

  • Launched under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme that aims to enhance the competitiveness and promote formalization of the unorganized micro—food processing enterprises in India.
  • The scheme aims to empower the self-help groups by:
    • Seed capital support of Rs.40,000 per SHG member;
    • Credit linked subsidy for capital investment up to 35% with a ceiling of Rs. 10 lakh;
    • Credit linked grantsupport up to 35% for establishing common infrastructure;
    • Handholding support for DPR preparation and;
    • Capacity building and training support.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

COIR INDUSTRY OF INDIA
Union Minister for MSME Narayan Rane has called for developing Coir Industry in Konkan, North and North-Eastern region of the country and expand the market network. Konkan region has great opportunities for development of Coir Industry, as its coastal areas have good coconut crop.

About:

  • Union Minister for MSME Narayan Rane informed that India contributes 70% of the global production of Coir and 80% of the world trade in Coir products.

  • Coir industry provides employment to more than 7.3 lakh people in rural areas, 80% of which are women

  • Acceptability of Coir products has increased rapidly due to its 'environment friendly' image. During the year 2020-21, the export of coir and coir products reached the level of Rs 3778.97 crore, with a growth rate of 17% in quantity and 37% in value, despite COVID adversities.

Important Info :

Significance

  • Coir Industry is a traditional, labor intensive, agro-based and export oriented industry.
  • The industry converts waste into wealth as the raw material used is throw away waste.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2021

SATAT
Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to establish waste to energy plant in Delhi to convert Municipal Solid Waste into Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) for use as fuel for running vehicles.

About:

  • The agreement was signed as a part of extension of SATAT initiative of the government under synchronization scheme.

  • The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme envisages setting up of 5000 CBG plants by 2023-24 with production target of 15 MMTPA, facilitating the creation of new employment opportunities and enhancing farmers' income.

  • By using Municipal Solid Waste as input, this initiative involves a multi-pronged approach to reduce municipal waste on one hand and produce clean energy on the other in a sustainable manner.

  • SATAT Scheme is an initiative of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Source : PIB
Economy

Sept. 27, 2021

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

MAOISTS
The geographical influence of Maoists has contracted to only 41 districts in the country, a sharp reduction from 96 such districts in 10 States in 2010, according to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to Chief Ministers and other officials at a meeting held.

About:

  • These miscreants have been pushed to a few pockets with only 25 districts accounting for 85% of the LWE (Left Wing Extremism) violence in the country.

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the meeting to review the security and other developmental aspects in the LWE-hit States.

  • Addressing the meeting, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren accused the Centre of slashing the number of LWE-affected districts in the State that could avail ₹33 crore under the Special Central Assistance (SCA) and Security Related Expenditure (SRA) scheme for infrastructure-related projects.

  • According to the ministry, there has been a gradual decline in the number of LWE incidents in the last decade. The incidents have reduced from 2,258 in 2009 to 349 incidents till August 31 this year. The number of deaths reduced from 908 to 110 during the same period.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

WOMEN IN JUDICIARY
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana backed 50% representation for women in judiciary.

About:

  • “It is your right. It is not a matter of charity... Enough of this thousands of years of suppression,” Chief Justice Ramana said. The CJI paraphrased Karl Marx to say, “Women of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

  • The CJI said women constituted only about 30% of the subordinate judiciary. In High Courts, women judges constitute 11.5%. Here in the Supreme Court, we currently have four women Justices out of the sitting 33. That makes it just 12%.

  • Of the 1.7 million advocates, only 15% are women.

  • Only 2% of the elected representatives in the State Bar Councils are women. There is no woman member in the Bar Council of India. This needs urgent correction,” Chief Justice Ramana said.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

BEIJING-LHASA EXPRESSWAY
Continuing its infrastructure build-up in Tibet, China has completed a key section of the Beijing-Lhasa expressway, a 295-km stretch from Lhasa to Nagqu.

About:

  • This section is located at an average altitude of 4,500 metres above sea level, which Chinese state media have termed the world’s highest expressway.

  • The Lhasa-Nagqu section is part of the G6 Beijing-Lhasa expressway and is the first expressway linking Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region to north Tibet.

  • It also connects the PLA’s Central Theatre Command with the Western Theatre Command which is responsible for the border with India, an official source said.

  • An important stretch of the expressway between Nagqu to Yangbaijain of Lhasa-Nagqu section was put into operational trial on August 21. On completion of Lhasa-Nagqu section, the driving time between Lhasa and Nagqu has reduced from six hours to three hours.

  • The completed expressway will pass through seven major cities of China including Beijing, Hebei, inner Mangolia, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai and Lhasa with an approximate length of 3,710 km.

  • In June, China had launched a high speed bullet train connecting Lhasa with Nyingchi, a strategically located Tibetan town located close to Arunachal Pradesh.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

STEERING COMMITTEE FOR LOCAL VALUE ADDITION, MANUFACTURING AND EXPORTS (SCALE)
A meeting between industry captains and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal soon after the national lockdown was announced in 2020, has led to the setting up of the Steering Committee for Local Value Addition, Manufacturing and Exports, or SCALE, aimed at navigating Indian manufacturing away from the import-dependence pitfalls exposed by the pandemic.

About:

  • The Minister asked Pawan Goenka, the Mahindra group’s managing director till April 2021, to drive this introspection.

  • The group is now working on such ideas for 17 sectors — from toys, textiles, furniture and e-cycles to drones and even fisheries.

  • The SCALE includes the top brass from the industry bodies CII, FICCI and Assocham and three representatives from government, with member secretary Manmeet Kaur Nanda from the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Important Info :

The SCALE group is different for a few reasons.

  • First, it has no deadlines and drafts and no voluminous reports — all its proposals are laid out in a presentation at best.
  • Second, it doesn’t just gather up ideas from various sectoral players and splash them together for the government to consider, as usual industry representations tend to be.
  • Third, it follows a rigorous process of consultations to align different factions of industry with varying agendas at multiple levels and tries to nudge an alignment of interests where differences seem intractable, before it takes up the relevant issues with the government.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

GoM TO RATIONALISE GST RATES
Setting the stage for an overhaul of the multiple tax rates under the Goods and Services Tax regime, the government has tasked a Group of Ministers (GoM), led by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S. Bommai, with proposing a rationalisation of tax rates and considering the merger of different tax slabs within two months.

About:

  • Currently, the GST regime has five broad tax rate slabs of zero, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, with a cess levied over and above the 28% on some goods, and special rates for items like precious stones and diamonds.

  • Bommai’s seven-member group constituted by the Finance Ministry on Friday includes West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal, as well as GST Council members from Goa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

  • The GoM shall review the current tax slab rates and recommend changes in the same as may be needed to garner required resources (and) review the current rate slab structure of GST, including special rates, and recommend rationalisation measures, including merger of tax rate slabs, required for a simpler rate structure in GST.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

WORLD TOURISM DAY 2021
The Ministry of Tourism is organizing an event to celebrate “World Tourism Day 2021” on 27th September 2021 in New Delhi, which has been designated by the UNWTO as a day to focus on “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”.

About:

  • During the event, NIDHI 2.0 (National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry) and ‘India Tourism Statistics – At a Glance, 2021’ will be launched.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will also be signed  between Ministry of Tourism, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) to actively promote and support ‘sustainability initiatives’ in the tourism sector of each other .

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

AYUSHMAN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION
In a historic initiative, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will launch the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission on 27th September 2021.

About:

  • The pilot project of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission had been announced by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of Red Fort on 15th August, 2020. Currently, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is being implemented in pilot phase in six Union Territories.

  • The nation-wide rollout of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission coincides with NHA celebrating the third anniversary of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).

  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is based on the foundations laid down in the form of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) trinity and other digital initiatives of the government

  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will create a seamless online platform through the provision of a wide-range of data, information and infrastructure services, duly leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems while ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.

  • The key components of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission include
    • a health ID for every citizen that will also work as their health account, to which personal health records can be linked and viewed with the help of a mobile application;

    • a Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registries (HFR) that will act as a repository of all healthcare providers across both modern and traditional systems of medicine.



  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox, created as a part of the Mission, will act as a framework for technology and product testing that will help organizations, including private players, intending to be a part of National Digital Health Ecosystem become a Health Information Provider or Health Information User.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

HUNARBAAZ AWARDS
The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad under the auspices of the Ministry of Rural Development presented Hunarbaaz Awards to 75 diyangjan candidates from 15 states.

About:

  • The virtual award ceremony was organised by NIRDPR with MoRD, in association with State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) and Rural Self-employment Training Institutes (RSETIs).

  • Hunarbaaz Awards have been instituted by the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad under the auspices of the Ministry of Rural Development for 75 differently-abled candidates as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

  • The awards are given to the candidates who were trained through Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and RSETI schemes of the Ministry in various trades, they subsequently got placed and worked in the organizations for more than one year or were successfully settled in the trade of their choice as self-employed. 

Source : PIB
Awards

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

DARK ENERGY
An international team of researchers made the first putative direct detection of dark energy.

About:

  • Dark energy, the mysterious form of energy that makes up about 68% of the universe, has intrigued physicists and astronomers for decades.

  • Dark energy has been noted as “the most profound mystery in all of science”.

Dark energy Vs Dark matter

  • Everything we see – the planets, moons, massive galaxies, you, me, this website – makes up less than 5% of the universe.

  • About 27% is dark matter and 68% is dark energy.

  • While dark matter attracts and holds galaxies together, dark energy repels and causes the expansion of our universe.

  • Despite both components being invisible, we know a lot more about dark matter, since its existence was suggested as early as the 1920s, while dark energy wasn’t discovered until 1998.

Important Info :

Recent detection

  • They noticed certain unexpected results in an underground experiment and write that dark energy may be responsible for it.
  • The XENON1T experiment is the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment and was operated deep underground at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.
  • The finding also suggests that experiments like XENON1T, which are designed to detect dark matter, could also be used to detect dark energy.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2021

ENCROACHMENT OF LAND IN ASSAM
Last week, an eviction drive in Sipajhar in Assam’s Darrang district took a violent turn, leaving two dead and several injured, after clashes broke out between the police and protesters.

About:

  • The eviction drive in Dholpur of Sipajhar, where primarily Bengali-speaking Muslims live, was aimed at removing “illegal encroachers” to free up government land for “landless indigenous communities”.

  • Portions of the land in Dholpur — as well as the larger Garukhuti area — have been a site of conflict for decades, with indigenous residents claiming their land has been usurped by migrants.

Important Info :

What is the extent of encroachment of land in Assam?

  • Land has long been at the centre of ethnic contestations in Assam, with the common belief that the “indigenous” Assamese were losing its land to “migrants from Bangladesh”.
  • The Brahma Committee, formed by the previous Sarbananda Sonowal government to make recommendations on land rights, said in its interim report in 2017 that 63 lakh bighas of government land was under “illegal occupation”.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance
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