1st April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs
1st April Current Affairs MCQs
Exercise VAJRA PRAHAR 2021
Context: The 11th edition of Indo-US Joint Special Forces Exercise VAJRA PRAHAR 2021 has been taken place recently.
More on News:
- The joint exercise by the Special Forces of both the countries is conducted alternatively between India and the United States to share the best practices and experiences in areas such as joint mission planning and operational tactics as also to improve interoperability between the Special Forces of both nations.
- Such Bilateral military exercises and defence exchanges are an important facet of deepening bilateral defence cooperation between friendly countries.
- Other than this, India and the United States also participated in a joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ in February 2021.
New Development Bank (NDB)
Relevance: International Relations
Context: Finance Minister attended the 6th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors NDB through video-conference.
- It is a multilateral development bank was set up by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
- It was established in 2014 during the sixth BRICS Summit in
- The objective is to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects for the BRICS nations.
- The Bank has been operationalized in 2015, with its Headquarters in Shanghai, China.
- The Bank have an initial authorized capital of US$ 100 billion. The initial subscribed capital is US$ 50 billion, equally shared among founding members.
Relevance: Science and Technology
Context: The women-led start-up Astrome developed low-cost internet services named Giga Mesh.
About Giga Mesh:
- It is an innovative wireless product that gives fibre-like bandwidth at a fraction of fibre cost to help telecom operators deliver reliable, low-cost Internet services to suburban and rural areas.
- It could enable telecom operators to deploy quality, high-speed rural telecom infrastructure at five times lower cost.
- This start-up has been funded by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bengaluru.
Investment Opportunities in India’s Healthcare Sector Report.
Context: NITI Aayog has released the Report ‘Investment Opportunities in India’s Healthcare Sector.
- The report outlined the range of investment opportunities in various segments of India’s healthcare sector, including hospitals, medical devices and equipment, health insurance, telemedicine, home healthcare and medical value travel.
- India’s healthcare industry has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 22% since 2016. At this rate, it is expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022.
- Healthcare has become one of the largest sectors of the Indian economy, in terms of both revenue and employment.
- In the hospital segment, the expansion of private players to tier-2 and tier-3 locations, beyond metropolitan cities, offers an attractive investment opportunity.
- With respect to pharmaceuticals, India can boost domestic manufacturing, supported by recent Government schemes with performance-linked incentives, as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharatinitiative.
- In the medical devices and equipment segment, expansion of diagnostic and pathology centres as well as miniaturized diagnostics have high growth potential.
- Technology advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), wearables and other mobile technologies, along with the Internet of Things, also offer numerous avenues for investment.
World Immunisation and Logistics Summit, 2021
Context: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally participated in a panel discussion on vaccine production and distribution across Asia at the “World Immunisation and Logistics Summit”, 2021.
More on News:
- The summit has been organised by the Hope Consortium.
- The virtual conference brought together over 1,000 attendees from around the region and the world in active discussion around tackling key issues facing global supply chains to deliver life-saving vaccines worldwide.
- The Hope Consortium has been established to deliver billions of COVID-19 doses around the world by end of
- It is an Abu Dhabi-led public-private partnership delivering large quantities of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
- It is utilizing an internally developed “mUnity” system to ensure full visibility, safety and security, and tamper-proof distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, despite the complexities of their transportation.
Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups and MSMEs (PRISM) scheme
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: Union Minister for Science & Technology has virtually inaugurated Alignment and Awareness Event for Publicity of the PRISM scheme at IIT Delhi.
More on News:
- The alignment and awareness event was organised by DSIR in association with three major national initiatives — Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) and Smart India Hackathon (SIH) of the Ministry of Education and Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG) of IIT-Delhi.
- The event aimed to raise awareness about the scheme widely through a vast network of stakeholders and identify scope and opportunities for future collaborations towards driving innovation for socio-economic development and inclusive growth.
About PRISM scheme:
- The scheme has been launched by the Department of Science & Industrial Research of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
- It is aimed at transforming an individual innovator into a successful technopreneur by promoting, supporting, and funding implementable and commercially viable innovations created for the society
- It is one of the thrust areas of the XIIth five year plan (2012-2017).
- Under the initiative, an innovator of Indian nationality – student, professional and common citizen – is provided technical, strategic, and financial assistance by DSIR-PRISM for idea development, prototype development and pilot scaling, and patenting.
- The programme is implemented across various sectors from energy to healthcare to waste management and others.
- The grant is given in two phases. The amount in Phase I is around Rs. 0 lakhs to Rs. 20.00 lakhs and in Phase II maximum of Rs. 50.00 lakhs.
- It would also provide support to institutions or organizations set up as Autonomous Organization under a specific statute or as a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or Indian Trusts Act, 1882 leading to the development of state-of-art new technology solutions aimed at helping MSME clusters.
- This initiative is expected to help in generating rural livelihood, inclusive innovation & socio-economic benefit.
- Initiatives like these have tremendous potential to alter the techno-socio-economic landscape of our country.
Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: 22 new routes have been operationalized in the last 3 days under the UDAN scheme.
About UDAN scheme:
- The scheme has been launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- It aims to provide affordable, economically viable and profitable air travel on regional routes.
- This Regional Connectivity Scheme offers a unique opportunity to a common man to fly at an affordable price.
- It has played a major role in adding new airports and routes to the aviation landscape of the country.
- As the implementing agency, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has an ambitious plan to develop at least 100 airports/water dromes/heliports by 2024 under the Scheme.
- To date, 57 unserved and underserved airports (including 5 heliports + 2 water aerodrome) with 347 routes have been operationalized under UDAN across the length and breadth of India.
Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) Mobile app
Relevance: Government Initiatives
Context: The finance minister launched the mobile app of the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA).
More about the News
- Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs virtually launched Central Scrutiny Centre (CSC), an initiative of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, to scrutinize the filings by users under straight-through processes.
- The finance minister also launched the mobile app of the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA).
- The two initiatives aim to strengthen the vision of ‘Digitally empowered India’.
- The objective behind the launch of CSC is to ensure that data quality is uncompromised and free from flaws.
- The mobile app aims at achieving the goal of financial literacy, spreading investor awareness, education, and protection among investors.
- The app will have the facility of tracking the status and progress of the IEPF claim refund process.
- It will also provide a mechanism for investors and common citizens to report on suspected fraudulent schemes.
Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve
Context: The Odisha government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri, a hill ecosystem having a rich biodiversity.
More about Mahendragiri Reserve
- The area of the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
- The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas, making the region an ecological estuary of genetic diversities.
- Mahendragiri hill and its surrounding areas are recognized as a biodiversity hot spot due to numerous medicinal plants and other species that are found here.
- Legend says that it is the place where Lord Parashurama, a Chiranjeevi (long-lived) stays eternally and performs tapas. Parashurama is the sixth avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism.
- Similipal Biosphere Reserve in Odisha’s first reserve and was notified in 1996.
Relevance: Environment and economy
Context: Two new red algal seaweed species, which can be a potential raw material for those involved in jelly and ice cream production, have been discovered along India’s coastline.
More about seaweed
- They are the primitive, marine non-flowering marine algae without root, stem and leaves, play a major role in marine ecosystems.
- Large seaweeds form dense underwater forests known as kelp forests, which act as underwater nurseries for fish, snails and sea urchins.
- Some species of seaweeds viz. Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria edulis, Gracilaria crassa, Gracilaria verrucosa, Sargassum.
- Seaweeds, found mostly in the intertidal region, in shallow and deep waters of the sea and also in estuaries and backwaters.
- The southern Gulf of Mannar’s rocky intertidal and lower intertidal regions have rich populations of several seaweed species.
- When waste from agriculture, industries, aquaculture and households are let into the ocean, it causes nutrient imbalance leading to algal blooming, the sign of marine chemical damage. Seaweeds absorb the excess nutrients and balance out the ecosystem. So, they act as the bioindicators
- The seaweeds derive nutrition through the photosynthesis of sunlight and nutrients present in seawater. They release oxygen through every part of their bodies. They also supply organic nutrients to other marine life forms.
- Seaweed has a significant role in mitigating climate change because they absorb the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
- They can be used as fertilizers and to increase aquaculture production.It is used as an ingredient in preparing toothpaste, cosmetics and paints.
Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN)
Relevance: Government schemes
Context: The Centre plans to issue a 14-digit identification number to every plot of land in the country within a year.
- It is 14 digits Alphanumeric unique ID for each land parcel based on the Geo reference coordinate of vertices of international standard and compliance of Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) standard and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards.
- It will provide compatibility so that all States can adopt it easily and help develop land bank and lead towards Integrated Land Information Management System (ILIMS).
- Its benefits are to ensure uniqueness in all transactions and keep the land records always up-to-date, link of all property transactions etc.,
- It is implemented by the Department of Land Resources under the Ministry of Rural development
- National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) – ‘One Nation One Software’ for registration of documents & properties to ‘empower citizens’ launched and under implementation in 10 States / Union Territories.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
Relevance: Laws of Parliament
Context: The Supreme Court has decided to examine whether POCSO Act can be employed to punish teenagers for “consensual” physical relationships which later turn “sour.”
More about POCSO Act
- It was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children.
- It took into consideration the standards prescribed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations to which the Indian government acceded in 1992.
- It defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance.
- It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault.
- It is gender-neutral and thus looks into the sexual assault of both minor boys and girls.
- It also casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process.
- The Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.
- Section 29: It says that when a person is prosecuted for committing an offence of sexual assault against a minor, the special court trying the case “shall presume” the accused to be guilty.
- The recent amendment to the act provided more stringent punishment including the death penalty, for sexual crimes against children.
An overseas citizen of India (OCI)
Relevance: Polity and Indian diaspora
Context: People of Indian origin and the Indian diaspora having Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards will not have to carry their old, expired passports for travel to India.
More about OCI
- Definition of OCI: The Ministry of Home Affairs defines an OCI as a person who was a citizen of India on or after 26th January 1950; or was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950; or is a child or grandchild of such a person, among other eligibility criteria.
- According to Section 7A of the OCI card rules, an applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or
- This category was introduced by the government in 2005. The Government of India via Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2015 merged the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) category with the OCI category in 2015.
- It must be noted here that the OCI is not dual citizenship as the Indian Constitution forbids dual citizenship or dual nationality (Article 9).
- OCI cardholders can enter India multiple times, get a multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India, and are exempt from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
- If an individual is registered as an OCI for five years, he/she is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
- OCI cardholders can open special bank accounts in India, buy the non-farm property and exercise ownership rights and can also apply for a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.
- OCI cardholders do not get voting rights, cannot hold a government job.
- The Constitution deals with citizenship from Articles 5 to 11 under Part II.
- It only identifies the persons who became citizens of India on 26th January 1950.
- It empowers the Parliament to enact a law to provide for matters relating to citizenship. Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act, 1955, which has been recently amended in 2015.
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