6th April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs
6th April Current Affairs MCQs
Sankalp Se Siddhi – Village & Digital Connect Drive
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (TRIFED) has launched “Sankalp Se Siddhi” – Village & Digital Connect Drive.
More on News:
- The main aim of this drive is to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in these villages.
- It is a 100-day drive that will entail 150 teams (10 in each region from TRIFED and State Implementation Agencies/Mentoring Agencies/Partners) visiting ten villages each.
- 100 villages in each region and 1500 villages in the country will be covered in the next 100 days.
- The visiting teams will identify tribal artisans and other groups and empanel them as suppliers so that they can have access to larger markets through the Tribes India network – both physical outlets and com.
- It is expected that Sankalp Se Siddhi will aid in effecting a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country.
- TRIFED was established in August 1987 under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 as a National level Cooperative body.
- It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- The basic objective of the TRIFED is to provide a good price to the products made or collected from the forest by the tribal peoples.
About Van Dhan Yojana or Van Dhan Scheme:
- It is a component of the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’.
- It was launched in April 2018 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- TRIFED is the nodal agency at the national level for the implementation of the scheme.
- The programme addresses the formidable problems that the Tribals face such as possession of land/house with no rights; restrictions in the collection of minor forest produce; exploitation by middlemen; displacement from national parks and wild sanctuaries, lack of development in forest villages, etc.
- It is an initiative targeting livelihood generation for tribal gatherers and transforming them into entrepreneurs.
- The idea is to set up tribal community-owned Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) in predominantly forested tribal districts.
- A Kendra shall constitute 15 tribal SHGs, each comprising of up to 20 tribal NTFP gatherers or artisanse. about 300 beneficiaries per Van Dhan Kendra.
- 100% Central Government Funded with TRIFED providing 15 lakhs for each 300 members Van Dhan Kendra.
NASA’s InSight lander
Relevance: Space Technology
Context: NASA’s InSight lander records two strong quakes on Mars, over 500 so far.
More on News:
- According to the mission control, the two quakes of magnitude 3.3 and 3.1 originated in a region called Cerberus Fossae, the same place where two other strong quakes were recorded earlier in the mission.
- InSight science team seeks to develop a better understanding of Mars’ mantle and core by studying the quakes.
- Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth but it does have volcanically active regions that can shake the surface.
What is InSight Mission?
- It is NASA’s Mars lander operating mission on the surface of the Red Planet launched in 2018.
- Its mission is to give Mars its first thorough check-up since the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago.
- It is the first robotic explorer to make a detailed study of the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.
Harmonised System of Nomenclature Code (HSN)
Context: 6-digit HSN code has been made mandatory in invoices for businesses with over ₹5 crore turnover.
More on News:
- With effect from the 1st April 2021, GST taxpayers will have to furnish HSN or Service Accounting Code (SAC) in their invoices, as per the revised requirement.
- Businesses with a turnover of more than ₹5 crores will have to furnish six-digit HSN or tariff codes on the invoices issued for supplies of taxable goods and services.
- Those with a turnover of up to ₹5 crores in the preceding financial year would be required to mandatorily furnish four-digit HSN code on B2B invoices.
- Earlier, the requirement was four-digits and two-digits respectively.
What is the HSN code?
- It was developed by World Customs Organization (WCO) as a standardized system that classifies goods all over the world in a systematic manner.
- It is an internationally accepted standard for classifying products that make it a logical way of identifying goods for both domestic and foreign trade.
- In trade parlance, every product is categorized under an HSN code. It helps in the systematic classification of goods across the globe.
- HSN codes for goods at 6 digits are universally common. Therefore, common HSN codes apply to Customs and GST. Accordingly, codes prescribed in the Customs tariff are used for GST purposes too.
First farm-based solar power plant
Context: The first farm-based solar power plant has been commissioned in Rajasthan.
More on News:
- Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited (RRECL) has commissioned this plant under the Prime Minister’s Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM)
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has launched the PM KUSUM Scheme in 2019.
- The scheme aims to add solar and other renewable capacities of 25,750 MW by 2022.
- Its objective is to provide additional income support to farmers.
- It aims to provide farmers with the installation of grid connected solar pumps by providing them the option to sell additional power to the grid, through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
Relevance: International Relations
Context: Representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain, and Iran had met virtually on Friday to discuss the possible return of the United States to the Iran nuclear deal.
More on News:
- It announced a meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA.
- Participants had discussed the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA, and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides.
- The JCPOA was reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, plus Germany) and the EU.
- In this agreement, Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear weapons program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions.
- Despite Iran’s verified compliance with the deal, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018, and subsequently re-imposed all U.S. sanctions on Iran lifted by the accord.
National policy for Rare Disease, 2021
Context: Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry approved the “National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021”.
About National policy for rare disease, 2021:
- The Rare Diseases Policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with an increased focus on indigenous research with the help of a National Consortium to be set up with the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as convenor.
- It will ensure the increased focus of research and development and local production of medicines which will lower the cost of treatment for rare diseases.
- The policy also envisages the creation of a national hospital-based registry of rare diseases so that adequate data is available for the definition of rare diseases and research and development related to rare diseases within the country.
- The Policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure such as Health and Wellness Centres and District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) and counseling for high-risk patients. The screening will also be supported by Nidan Kendras set up by the Department of Biotechnology.
- The Policy also aims to strengthen tertiary health care facilities for the prevention and treatment of rare diseases through designating 8 health facilities as Centre of Excellence (CoE).
- These CoEs will also be provided one-time financial support of up to Rs 5 crores for the up-gradation of diagnostics facilities.
- A provision for financial support up to 20 lakhs under the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi is proposed for treatment, of those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment (diseases listed under Group 1 in the rare disease policy).
- The Beneficiaries for such financial assistance would not be limited to BPL families, but the benefit will be extended to about 40% of the population, who are eligible under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
- Besides, the Policy also envisages a crowdfunding mechanism in which corporates and individuals will be encouraged to extend financial support through a robust IT platform for the treatment of rare diseases.
- Funds so collected will be utilized by Centres of Excellence for treatment of all three categories of rare diseases as the first charge and then the balance financial resources could also be used for research.
What is Rare Disease?
- Rare diseases are diseases that affect a small number of people compared to the general population and specific issues are raised concerning their
- A disease can be rare in one region, but common in another.
- While nearly all genetic diseases are rare, not all rare diseases are genetic diseases.
- There are also very rare forms of infectious diseases, such as auto-immune diseases and rare cancers. To date, the cause remains unknown for many rare diseases.
- Rare diseases are serious, often chronic and progressive, diseases. For many rare diseases, signs may be observed at birth or in childhood.
Babu Jagjivan Ram
Context: Prime Minister has paid tributes to Babu Jagjivan Ram on his Jayanti.
About Babu Jagjivan Ram:
- Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as Babuji was a national leader, a freedom fighter, a crusader of social justice, a champion of depressed classes, an outstanding Parliamentarian, a true democrat, a distinguished Union Minister, an able administrator, and an exceptionally gifted orator.
- He had a towering personality and played a long inning, spanning over half a century in Indian politics with commitment, dedication, and devotion.
- He had organized several Ravidas Sammelans and had celebrated Guru Ravidas Jayanti in different areas of Calcutta (Kolkata).
- In 1934, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Ravidas Mahasabha in Calcutta and the All India Depressed Classes League.
- Through these Organizations, he involved the depressed classes in the freedom struggle.
- He was of the view that Dalit leaders should not only fight for social reforms but, also demand political representation.
- On 19 October 1935, Babuji appeared before the Hammond Commission at Ranchi and demanded, for the first time, voting rights for the Dalits.
- He played a very active and crucial role in the freedom struggle.
- Inspired by Gandhi, Babuji courted arrest on 10 December 1940. After his release, he entrenched himself deeply into the Civil Disobedience Movement and Satyagraha.
- Babuji was arrested again on 19 August 1942 for his active participation in the Quit India Movement launched by the Indian National Congress.
- When the Congress Government was formed in 1937, Babuji was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Development.
- He became the first Minister of Labour of Independent India in 1947.
- Important Literature: Caste Challenge in India (1980)
Relevance: Geography, culture
Context: The annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave in the Kashmir Valley, which was suspended due to the pandemic in 2020, will start soon Government informed.
More about Amarnath
- Amarnath Cave Temple is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The shrine represents an important part of Hinduism and is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism.
- The Amarnath Cave Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, temples throughout South Asia that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.
- Inside the 40 m (130 ft) high cave, a stalagmite is formed due to the freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave onto the floor and grow upward vertically from the cave floor.
- It is considered to be a Shiva Linga by Hindus. It is mentioned in the ancient Hindu texts of Mahabharata and Puranas that Lingam represents Lord Shiva.
- According to Hindu religious beliefs, this is the place where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Parvati.
100% Privatisation of Air India
Relevance: Government bodies
Context: Union minister of Civil Aviation announced that Air India will be completely disinvested.
More about Air India
- Air India is the flag carrier airline of India, headquartered in New Delhi.
- The airline was founded by J. R. D. Tata as Tata Airlines in 1932.
- Air India’s mascot is the Maharajah (Emperor) and the logo consists of a flying swan with the wheel of Konark inside it.
What is disinvestment?
- Disinvestment is the action of an organization or government selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary. Disinvestment also refers to capital expenditure (CapEx) reductions, which can facilitate the re-allocation of resources to more productive areas within an organization or government-funded project.
Methods of disinvestments of Central Public Sector Enterprises(CPSE):
- Initial Public Offering (IPO) – offer of shares by an unlisted CPSE or the Government out of its shareholding or a combination of both to the public for subscription for the first time.
- Further Public Offering (FPO) – offer of shares by a listed CPSE or the Government out of its shareholding or a combination of both to the public for subscription. Offer for sale (OFS) of Shares by Promoters through Stock
- Exchange mechanism – method allows auction of shares on the platform provided by the Stock Exchange; extensively used by the Government since 2012.
- Strategic sale – sale of a substantial portion of the Government shareholding of a CPSE of up to 50%, or such higher percentage as the competent authority may determine, along with transfer of management control.
- Institutional Placement Program (IPP) – only Institutions can participate in the offering.
- CPSE Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) – Disinvestment through the ETF route allows the simultaneous sale of Government of India(GoI) stake in various CPSEs across diverse sectors through a single offering. It provides a mechanism for the GoI to monetize its shareholding in those CPSEs which form part of the ETF basket.
Context: IT Delhi Reduces Its Carbon Footprint by Over 50 Percent.
More about Carbon Footprint
- A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.
- It corresponds to the whole amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced to, directly and indirectly; support a person’s lifestyle and activities.
- Carbon footprints are usually measured in equivalent tons of CO2, during a year, and they can be associated with an individual, an organization, a product, or an event, among others.
- Carbon footprint consists of two parts – The Direct/ Primary footprint and Indirect/ Secondary footprint.
- The primary footprint is a measure of direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g., car and Plane).
- The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products that are used. These are associated with their manufacture and breakdown. For a country, the total amount of CO2 release is associated with the carbon footprint of the individuals and business houses that belong to that country.
- A carbon footprint also deals with resource usage but focuses strictly on the greenhouse gases released due to the burning of fossil fuels.
- The Kyoto Protocol recognizes 6 GHGs and Carbon footprint considers all six of the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases viz. Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
India-China Border management
Relevance: International Relations
Context: India and China need to strengthen confidence-building measures in border areas and avoid a repeat of last year’s border crisis, China’s envoy to India Sun Weidong has said.
More about the News
- The border between India and China is not demarcated throughout. Along certain stretches of its 3,488-km length, there is no mutually agreed Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- India, following Independence, believed it had inherited firm boundaries from the British, but this was contrary to China’s view. China felt the British had left behind a disputed legacy on the boundary between the two newly formed republics.
- LAC is different from the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan:
- The LoC emerged from the 1948 ceasefire line negotiated by the United Nations (UN) after the Kashmir War.
- It was designated as the LoC in 1972, following the Shimla Agreement between the two countries.
- It is delineated on a map signed by the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) of both armies and has the international sanctity of a legal agreement.
- The LAC, in contrast, is only a concept – it is not agreed upon by the two countries, neither delineated on a map nor demarcated on the ground.
- The India-China border is divided into three sectors
- Western: The boundary dispute in the Western Sector pertains to the Johnson Line proposed by the British in the 1860s that extended up to the Kunlun Mountains and put Aksai Chin in the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Middle: In the Middle Sector, the dispute is a minor one. It is the only one where India and China have exchanged maps on which they broadly agree.
- Eastern: The disputed boundary in the Eastern Sector of the India-China border is over the McMahon Line.
Border Dispute Settlement Mechanism
- A series of five agreements signed between India and China to address disputes arising over the LAC:
- 1993 Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the LAC
- 1996 Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures in the Military Field Along the LAC
- 2005 Protocol on Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence-Building Measures in the Military Field Along the LAC
- 2012 Agreement on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs
- 2013 Border Defense Cooperation Agreement. These agreements provide a modus operandi for a diplomatic engagement at the military and political levels, as well as a set of “status quo” commitments both sides can return to in case of escalation.
- The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and that human-made CO2 emissions are driving it.
- The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties.
Satellites add to light pollution
Relevance: Science and technology
Context: Light from space objects scatter over a larger geographic area than sources on Earth.
More about the News
- Objects sent to space that orbit the Earth can increase the overall brightness of the night sky by 10 percent above natural levels.
- This additional light pollution has an impact over a larger part of the globe than ground-based sources.
- This research is the first to assess the overall impact of space objects on the night sky rather than the effect of individual satellites and space debris affecting astronomers’ images of the night skies.
- Large fleets of communication satellites that have been unleashed in space not just add to the light pollution but also collide and form more debris.
- Light pollution is excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive artificial (usually outdoor) light.
- Too much light pollution has consequences:
- it washes out starlight in the night sky,
- interferes with astronomical research,
- disrupts ecosystems,
- has adverse health effects and wastes energy.
- Space Debris may refer to natural debris found in the solar system (asteroids, comets, and meteoroids) or debris from the mass of defunct, artificially created objects (like old satellites and spent rocket stages) in space, especially earth orbit.
- Collision with debris can create a hazard to a spacecraft by damaging its solar panels, optics, etc., due to its extremely high speed. Momentum is directly proportional to velocity and a high momentum creates a large force of impact.
- The Kessler syndrome (collisional cascading, or ablation cascade), is a theoretical scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) due to space pollution is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade in which each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions.
Learning Poverty Report
Context: The learning poverty will substantially diminish the global recruitment pool for skilled health workers by 2030 says a new report.
More about the News
- The World Bank (WB) introduced a new Learning Target, which aims to cut by at least half the global rate of Learning Poverty by 2030.
- Learning Poverty is defined as the percentage of 10-year-olds who cannot read and understand a simple story.
- World Bank estimates that 53 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand a simple story by the end of primary school.
- In India, the Right-to-Education Act has been successful in increasing coverage and access to school education. But now there is an urgent need to shift the focus to quality.
- This global learning crisis will hit Africa and Asia particularly hard, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 40 percent of children at risk.
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