2nd April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs
2nd April Current Affairs MCQs
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog has launched the Program for Researchers on Innovations, Market-Readiness & Entrepreneurship (AIM-PRIME).
- It is an initiative to promote and support science-based deep-tech startups & ventures across India.
- In this regard, AIM has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to launch this nationwide program which will be implemented by Venture Center – a non-profit technology business incubator.
- The first cohort of the program is open to technology developers (early-stage deep tech start-ups, and scientists/ engineers/ clinicians) with strong science-based deep tech business ideas.
- The program is also open to CEOs and senior incubation managers of AIM Funded Atal Incubation Centers that are supporting deep tech entrepreneurs.
- They will also have access to a deep tech startup playbook, curated video library, and plenty of peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
- The program is specifically tailored for the rapid scaling up of deep-tech science ventures in India, providing not just the necessary intellect and support but also the exposure they rightly deserve.
Relevance: International Relations
Context: India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) has come into force from 1 April 2021.
More on News:
- This agreement has been signed between India and Mauritius in February 2021.
- The CECPA is the first trade agreement signed by India with a country in
- The Agreement is a limited agreement, which will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement and Cooperation in other Areas.
New sub-species of Butterfly discovered
Context: A new sub-species of the six-line blue butterfly has been discovered from the south Western Ghats.
More on News:
- A new sub-species has been named Nacaduba Sinhala Ramaswami.
- The new butterfly species is named after Lord Rama, signifying the connection across the sea to Sri Lanka.
- This was the first time a new species was discovered by an all-Indian research team from the Western Ghats.
- The distribution of line blues butterflies ranges from India and Sri Lanka to the whole of south-eastern Asia, Australia and Samoa.
About South Western Ghats:
- The South Western Ghats Montane Rain Forests are the most species-rich Eco-region in the Deccan Peninsula.
- It extends as a long and narrow unit through the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- The eco-region also supports important populations of some of Asia’s largest, most charismatic species, foremost being Asia’s largest wild cat, the tiger, and the largest terrestrial animal, the Asian elephant, as well as sloth bear, gaur, and wild dog.
- The climate is wet and highly seasonal.
- The habitat types include the wet montane evergreen forests and shola-grassland complexes in the higher elevations.
- Shola refers to the stunted tropical montane forest, derived from the Tamil word ‘sholai’ meaning thicket, cold place.
- Every twelve years, the endemic Neelakurinji shrubs burst into flower, painting the shola grasslands blue.
- The Paliyan tribal people of Tamil Nadu use this flowering cycle as a reference point to determine their age.
- The Periyar River, which originates from Periyar Tiger Reserve, is one of the larger rivers that carry the monsoon rains east across the peninsula.
- This ecoregion harbors almost 20 per cent of India’s mammal fauna.
- The endemic Nilgiri tahr is restricted to a narrow, 400 km stretch of shola-grassland from the Nilgiri Hills to Ashambu Hills. The endangered lion-tailed macaque and Nilgiri macaque are endemic to the Western Ghats.
- Several of India’s well-known reserves extend into this ecoregion, including Periyar, Anamalai, and Kalakad Mundanthurai, and form protected areas complexes with adjacent reserves.
Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI):
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the Central Sector Scheme – PLISFPI.
About PLISFPI Scheme:
- The scheme has been launched by the Ministry of Food and Processing Industry.
- It aims to support the creation of global food manufacturing champions commensurate with India’s natural resource endowment and support Indian brands of food products in the international markets.
- The objectives of the Scheme are:
- To support food manufacturing entities with stipulated minimum Sales and willing to make the minimum stipulated investment for expansion of processing capacity and Branding abroad to incentivise emergence of strong Indian brands.
- To support the creation of global food manufacturing champions.
- To strengthen select Indian brand of food products for global visibility and wider acceptance in the international markets.
- To increase employment opportunities of off-farm jobs.
- To ensure remunerative prices of farm produce and higher income to farmers.
- The Scheme will be implemented over six years from 2021-22 to 2026-27.
- The scheme will be rolled out on An Indian basis.
- The scheme shall be implemented through a Project Management Agency (PMA).
- A National level portal would be set-up wherein the applicant enterprise could apply to participate in the Scheme. All the scheme activities would be undertaken on the National portal.
Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: Ministry of Finance has extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).
More on News:
- In recognition of the continuing adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain service sectors, the Government has now extended the scope of ECLGS through the introduction of ECLGS 3.0 to cover business enterprises in Hospitality, Travel & Tourism, and Leisure & Sporting sectors.
- The tenor of loans granted under ECLGS 3.0 shall be 6 years including a moratorium period of 2 years.
- Further, the validity of ECLGS i.e. ECLGS 1.0, ECLGS 2.0 & ECLGS 3.0 has been extended up to 30.06.2021 or till guarantees for an amount of 3 lakh crore is issued. The Last date of disbursement under the scheme has been extended to 30.09.2021.
- The ECLGS was announced as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package to provide fully guaranteed and collateral-free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, individual loans for business purposes and MUDRA borrowers, to the extent of 20% of their credit outstanding.
- It also provides 100% guaranteecoverage to banks and NBFCs to enable them to provide emergency credit facilities worth Rs 3 lakh crore to eligible borrowers to meet their working capital requirements.
All India Survey on Migrant Workers
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: Ministry of Labour and Employment has launched an All India Surveys on Migrant workers and the All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES).
More on News:
- These are two of the five All India Surveys that Labour Bureau an attached office of the Ministry is going to conduct this year.
- These surveys will provide crucial data for policy formulation in the field of labour and employment.
About All India Surveys on Migrant workers:
- With the launch of this survey, the Bureau will cover lakhs of households over the next few months to gather valuable data on migrant workers.
- It is the first focused survey on studying the socio-economic and working conditions of migrant workers.
- It will also assess the impact of COVID19 on migrant workers in India.
- The Bureau will also cover various establishments under the AQEES to gather data on employment situation and change in an employment situation.
- The AQEES survey holds the objective of collecting employment data every
- It is designed to be Establishment based Employment Survey which would provide every quarter with the employment estimates for establishments employing 10 or more workers and for the establishments recruiting 9 or fewer workers.
- This will address a major data gap in the biggest segment of the Indian labour market.
Relevance: Science and Technology
Context: 20 Gelatin sticks have been recovered from a vehicle parked outside Antilla in Mumbai.
What are Gelatin sticks?
- Gelatin sticks are cheap explosive materials used by industries for mining and construction-related work, like building structures, roads, rails and tunnels etc. They cannot be used without a
- Only licensed explosive manufacturers can make gelatin sticks.
- The manufacture is regulated by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO).
- PESO is the nodal agency for regulating the safety of hazardous substances such as explosives, compressed gas and petroleum. These substances include gelatin sticks.
- The PESO works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- Its major work is to administer the responsibilities delegated under the Explosives Act 1884 and Petroleum Act 1934 and the Rules made thereunder related to manufacturing, import, export, transport, possession, sale and use of Explosives, Petroleum products and compressed gases.
Global Gender Gap Report 2021
Relevance: Indices and reports
Context: Recently the Global Gender Gap Report was released by the World Economic Forum.
More about the Global Gender Gap report
- India has been ranked 140th among 156 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2021, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
- The WEF published its first gender gap index in 2006.
- The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 156 countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions:
- Economic Participation and Opportunity,
- Educational Attainment,
- Health and Survival and
- Political Empowerment
- The Index aims to serve as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men in health, education, economy and politics.
- Over the Index, the highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).
- Key point: India has fallen 28 places in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, and is now one of the worst performers in South Asia, trailing behind neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
- The countries with the largest gender gaps in economic participation include Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Other findings in the report
- In the index of education attainment, India has been ranked at
- The two indices where India has fared the worst are “Health and Survival”, which includes the sex ratio, and economic participation of women.
- India has declined on the political empowerment index as well by 13.5 percentage points, and a decline in the number of women ministers, from 23.1 per cent in 2019 to 9.1 per cent in 2021.
- The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
- It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial, and not tied to any special interests.
- The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance.
International Transgender Day of Visibility
Relevance: Social issues
Context: International Transgender Day of Visibility, held on March 31 every year.
More about the News
- International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.
- The day was founded by US-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognition of transgender people.
Position of Transgenders in India
- In 2014, the Supreme Court of India, in the case of the National Legal Services Authority versus Union of India, established the foundation for the rights of transgender persons in India by recognizing ‘transgender’ as a ‘third gender’ and laying down several measures for the prohibition of discrimination against transgender persons and protection of their rights.
- The government has brought the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
- The Act defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes transmen and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
- The Act has a provision that provides transgender with the right of residence with parents and immediate family members.
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the National Portal for Transgender Persons and has inaugurated Garima Greh, a shelter home for transgender persons.
- The Portal would help transgenders in digitally applying for a certificate and identity card from anywhere in the country, thus preventing any physical interaction with officials.
- Every establishment has been mandated to formulate an equal opportunity policy for transgender persons with certain specific information as prescribed under the law.
Right to Information (RTI) act
Context: The Centre has only rejected 4.3% of all Right to Information (RTI) requests in 2019-20, the lowest ever rate, according to the Central Information Commission’s annual report.
More about the RTI act
- The right to information gained power when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 providing everyone with the right to seek, receive, information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- The genesis of RTI law started in 1986, through the judgment of the Supreme Court in Mr Kulwal v/s Jaipur Municipal Corporation case, in which it directed that freedom of speech and expression provided under Article 19 of the Constitution implies the Right to Information, as without information the freedom of speech and expression cannot be fully used by the citizens.
RTI vs OSA
- The OSA was enacted in 1923 by the British to keep certain kinds of information confidential, including, but not always limited to, information involving the affairs of state, diplomacy, national security, espionage, and other state secrets.
- Whenever there is a conflict between the two laws, the provisions of the RTI Act override those of the OSA. Section 22 of the RTI Act states that its provisions will affect anything inconsistent with them in the OSA.
- Similarly, under Section 8(2) of the RTI Act, a public authority may allow access to the information covered under the OSA, “if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interest”.
Features of the Act
- Section 1(2): It extends to the whole of India
- Section- 2(j): “Right to Information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority.
- Section 4 of the RTI Act requires suo motu disclosure of information by each public authority.
- Section 8 (2) provides for disclosure of information exempted under Official Secrets (OSA) Act, 1923 if the larger public interest is served.
- The Act also provides for the appointment of Information Commissioners at the Central and State level.
- Time period: In a normal course, information to an applicant is to be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of the application by the public authority.
- Although the Right to Information is not included as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India, it protects the fundamental rights to Freedom of Expression and Speech under Article 19(1)(a) and Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 guaranteed by the Constitution.
Geo Imaging Satellite or GISAT-1
Relevance: Science and technology
Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has revised the launch schedule of geo imaging satellite GISAT-1 onboard GSLV-F10 rocket following a ‘minor issue’ with the spacecraft.
More about GISAT-1
- GISAT-1 will be placed in a geostationary orbit of around 36,000 km.
- All Indian Earth Observing satellites have been placed so far in 600-odd-km orbits and circle the earth pole to pole.
- It will apparently be in a fixed spot looking over the Indian continent at all times.
- It will have high-resolution cameras which will help to monitor any changes in borders and the overall geographical condition of the country.
- GISATs will image in multi-spectral and hyper-spectral bands to provide near real-time pictures of large areas of the country, under cloud-free conditions, at frequent intervals which is, selected field image in every 5 minutes and entire Indian landmass image every 30 minutes at 42 m spatial resolution.
- Weighing about 2,268kg, GISAT-1 is the first state-of-the-art agile earth observation satellite that will be placed in a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by GSLV-F10.
Relevance: Art and culture
Context: People living during the Harappan civilization around 4,000 years ago, have been found consuming high-protein, multigrain ‘laddoos’, according to a study.
More about Harappan Civilization:
- It flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, in contemporary Pakistan and Western India.
- The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China.
- In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the Archeological Survey of India, announced the discovery of a new civilization in the Indus valley to the world.
- Harappa and Mohenjodaro each had their citadel or acropolis, which was possibly occupied by members of the ruling class.
|City||State/Country||Facts about Indus Valley Civilization’s Cities|
|Mohenjodaro||Sindh Province, Pakistan||It was located on the right bank of the River Indus.|
|Kalibangan||Rajasthan||It was located on the banks of the Ghaggar River|
|Chanhudaro||Sindh Province, Pakistan||It was on the left bank of River Indus, to the South of Mohenjodaro|
|Lothal||Gujarat||It was located at the head of the Gulf of Cambay|
|Surkotada||Gujarat||It was at the head of Rann of Kutch|
|Banawali||Haryana||It was situated on the banks of the now-extinct Saraswati River|
|Dholavira||Gujarat||It was excavated in the Kutch district|
- Granaries constituted an important part of the Harappan cities.
- The drainage system of Mohenjodaro was very impressive.
- At sites such as Dholavira and Lothal (Gujarat), the entire settlement was fortified, and sections within the town were also separated by walls.
- The Indus people were the earliest people to produce
- Representations on seals and terracotta sculpture indicate that the bull was known, and archaeologists extrapolate shows oxen were also used for ploughing.
- Metal money was not used and trade was carried by the barter system.
- The Harappans were very well acquainted with the manufacturing and use of Bronze.
- The Harappans looked upon the earth as a fertility goddess and worshipped her in the same manner as the Egyptians worshipped the Nile goddess Isis.
- The most important of them is the one-horned unicorn which may be identified with the rhinoceros and the next important was the humped bull.
Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
Context: Chief justice of India hailed Goa’s uniform civil code and said the state already has what the framers of the constitution envisaged for the whole of India.
What is UCC?
- The Constitution in Article 44 requires the State to strive to secure for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code(UCC) throughout India, but to date, no action has been taken in this regard.
- Uniform Civil Code is a proposal in India to formulate and implement personal laws of citizens which apply to all citizens equally regardless of their religion.
- Uniform Civil Code seeks to replace personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set of rules governing every citizen.
- It is an important issue regarding secularism in Indian politics and continues to remain disputed by India’s political left-wing, Muslim groups, and other conservative religious groups and sects in defence of sharia and religious customs.
- The Hindu personal laws were codified in the year 1956. However, there has been no attempt to frame a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all citizens of the country.
- UCC emerged as a crucial topic of interest in Indian politics following the Shah Bano case in 1985.
UCC in Goa
- Goa has a common civil code called Portuguese civil code 1867, whereby:
- A Muslim man whose marriage is registered in the State cannot practice polygamy.
- A married couple share property equally, pre-nuptial agreements are the order of the day and assets are divided equally between the man and woman on divorce.
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