7th April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs

7th April Current Affairs MCQs 

Daily Current Affairs MCQsHistory MCQPolity MCQ Video Series


Exercise La Pérouse

Relevance: Defence

Context: Indian Navy Ships and Aircraft had participated in the exercise La Perouse.

About Exercise La Pérouse

  • Indian Navy Ships INS Satpura (with an integral helicopter embarked) and INS Kiltanalong with P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft had participated for the first time in multilateral maritime exercise La Pérouse conducted in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region.
  • The Indian Navy ships and aircraft had participated along with ships and aircraft of the French Navy (FN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the United States Navy (USN) in the exercise.
  • The exercise is hosted by the French Navy.
  • Participation by the Indian Navy in the exercise demonstrates the shared values with friendly navies ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.


Spices Board and UNDP

Relevance: Economy

Context: Spices Board India and UNDP India’s Accelerator Lab signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a Blockchain-powered traceability Interface for Indian spices.

More on News:

  • It aims to build a blockchain-based traceability interface for Indian spices to enhance transparency in the supply chain and trade.
  • UNDP and Spices Board India are working towards integrating the Blockchain Traceability Interface with the e-Spice Bazaar portal developed by Spices Board India for connecting spices farmers with markets.
  • This allows for ease and transparency in data management across a complex network, including, farmers, brokers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, and consumers, thus simplifying the supply chain.
  • It will allow farmers just as all other members of the supply chain to access the information which further makes the entire supply chain more efficient and equitable.

About Blockchain Technology:

  • Blockchain is a decentralized process of recording transactions on an open and shared electronic ledger.
  • It is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.
  • A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.
  • Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.
  • The decentralised database managed by multiple participants is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
  • It is a type of DLT in which transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash.
  • Blockchains such as Bitcoinand Ethereum are constantly and continually growing as blocks are being added to the chain, which significantly adds to the security of the ledger.

Advanced Chaff Technology

Relevance: Defence

Context: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology.

More on News:

  • It aims to safeguard the naval ships against enemy missile attack.
  • It has been developed by Defence Laboratory Jodhpur (DLJ), a DRDO laboratory.
  • Chaff is a passive expendable electronic countermeasure technology used worldwide to protect naval ships from enemy’s radar and Radio Frequency (RF) missile seekers.
  • The importance of this development lies in the fact that a very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as a decoy to deflect the enemy’s missiles for the safety of the ships.


Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP)

Relevance: Health

Context: Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has launched the IHIP.

About IHIP:

  • IHIP will provide a health information system developed for real-time, case-based information, integrated analytics, advanced visualization capability.
  • It will provide analysed reports on mobile or other electronic devices.
  • In addition, outbreak investigation activities can be initiated and monitored electronically.
  • It can easily be integrated with other ongoing surveillance programs while having the feature of the addition of special surveillance modules.
  • The new version of IHIP will house the data entry and management for India’s disease surveillance program.
  • In addition to tracking 33 diseases now as compared to the earlier 18 diseases, it shall ensure near-real-time data in digital mode, having done away with the paper mode of working.
  • The refined IHIP with automated -data will help in a big way in real-time data collection, aggregation & further analysis of data that will aid and enable evidence-based policy
  • It is an advanced digital platform for scouting the earliest signs of disease spread in the smallest of villages and blocks in the country will immensely help in nipping in the bud any potential outbreak or epidemic.
  • This is the world’s biggest online disease surveillance platform.
  • India is the first country in the world to adopt Such an Advanced Digital Surveillance System.


E9 countries

Relevance: International Relations

Context: Minister of State for Education has attended consultation meeting of Education Ministers of E9 countries on the E9 initiative.

More on News:

  • The consultation is the first of a three-phased process to co-create an initiative on digital learning and skills, targeting marginalised children and youth, especially girls.
  • The initiative aims to accelerate recovery and advance the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda by driving rapid change in education systems in three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting priorities: (i) support to teachers; (ii) investment in skills; and (iii) narrowing of the digital divide.
  • The consultation will highlight progress and share lessons learned regarding challenges on digital learning and skills.

 What is E-9 Initiative?

  • The E9is a forum of nine countries, which was formed to achieve the goals of UNESCO’s Education For All (EFA) initiative.
  • This Initiative was launched in 1993 at the EFA Summit in New DelhiIndia.
  • It has become a forum for the countries to discuss their experiences related to education, exchange best practices, and monitor EFA-related progress.
  • This Partnership is vital for the achievement of SDG4 – Education 2030.
  • Member Countries: India, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico and Pakistan.


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Relevance: Economy

Context: Union Government measures increase in FDI inflow in India.

More on News:

  • India has attracted a total FDI inflow of US$ 72.12 billion from April to January 2021.
  • It is the highest ever for the first ten months of a financial year and 15% higher as compared to the first ten months of 2019-20 (US$ 62.72 billion).
  • The trends show that the FDI equity inflow grew by 28% in the first ten months of F.Y. 2020-21 (US$ 54.18 billion) compared to the year-ago period (US$ 42.34 billion).
  • In terms of top investor countries, ‘Singapore’ is at the apex with 30.28% of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by the S.A (24.28%) and UAE (7.31%) for the first ten months of the current financial year 2020-21.
  • Japan has been leading the list of investor countries to invest in India with 29.09% of the total FDI equity inflows during January 2021, followed by Singapore (25.46%) and the S.A. (12.06%).
  • Computer Software & Hardware has emerged as the top sector during the first ten months of F.Y. 2020-21 with 45.81% of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by Construction (Infrastructure) Activities (13.37%) and Services Sector (7.80%) respectively.
  • As per the trends shown during January 2021, the consultancy services emerged as the top sector with 21.80% of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by Computer Software & Hardware (15.96%) and Service Sector (13.64%).

About FDI:

  • FDI is a process in which a company takes controlling ownership in a business entity in another country.
  • With FDI, foreign companies are directly involved with day-to-day operations in the other country.
  • Generally, FDI takes place when an investor establishes foreign business operations or acquires foreign business assets, including establishing ownership or controlling interest in a foreign company.
  • FDI’s are commonly made in open economies that have skilled workforce and growth prospect.
  • FDIs not only bring money with them but also skills, technology and knowledge.
  • FDI is an important monetary source for India’s economic development.
  • Economic liberalisation started in India in the wake of the 1991 crisis and since then, FDI has steadily increased in the country.
  • The following are the Routes through which India gets FDI:

Automatic Route: The non-resident or Indian company does not require a prior nod of the RBI or government of India for FDI.

Government Route: The government’s approval is mandatory.


Mango variety

Relevance: Agriculture

Context: A farmer from Rajasthan has developed an innovative mango variety called Sadabahar that bears fruits round the year.

More on News:

  • The fruit is sweeter, comparable to langra and being a dwarf variety, is suitable for kitchen gardening, high-density plantation, and can be grown in pots for some years too.
  • It is resistant to most major diseases and common mango disorders.
  • The innovative attributes of the variety have been verified by the National Innovation Foundation(NIF).
  • NIF also facilitated an on-site evaluation of the variety through ICAR– Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore, and a field testing at SKN Agriculture University, Jobner (Jaipur), Rajasthan.
  • It is in the process of being registered under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act and ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources(NBPGR), New Delhi.

About NIF-India:

  • The NIF is an autonomous institute established by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It is India’s national initiative to strengthen the grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge.
  • Its mission is to help India become a creative and knowledge-based society by expanding policy and institutional space for grassroots technological innovators.
  • It has also set up an augmented Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) for product development and strengthening in-house research.
  • The INSPIRE Award – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) is being revamped and executed by DST and NIF-India to align it with the action plan for the “Start-up India” initiative.

India’s biggest floating solar power plant

Relevance: Environment

Context: India’s biggest floating solar power plant with a capacity of 100 MW will be set up at Ramagundam in Telangana.

More about the News

  • The project expected to be opened in May is being set up at Ramagundam thermal power plant reservoir.
  • The solar project is commissioned by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
  • The world’s largest solar power plant with 600 MW capacity is being set up on Omkareshwar Dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh.

National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)

  • It is an Indian government electricity board engaged in the business of generation of electricity and allied activities.
  • It is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 and is owned by the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
  • The headquarters of the company is situated in New Delhi.
  • NTPC became a Maharatna company in May 2010.
  • NTPC is ranked No. 2 Independent Power Producer(IPP) in Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings

Astronomers detect X-rays from Uranus

Relevance: Science and Technology

Context: For the first time, astronomers have detected X-rays radiating from Uranus, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

More about the News

  • The seventh planet in the solar system, Uranus, is a giant icy planet, with two sets of rings around its equator.
  • It has four times the diameter of the Earth and rotates on its side, which makes it different from all other planets in the solar system.
  • Researchers used the Chandra observations taken in Uranus in 2002 and then again in 2017 to confirm the X-ray radiation.
  • There was a clear detection of X-rays from the first observation and a possible flare of X-rays in those obtained fifteen years later.
  • Emitting X-rays is not new in our solar system. Venus, Saturn, even moons of Jupiter emit X-rays and others.
  • Understanding the origins of X-rays on Uranus may also help them understand similar emissions from growing black holes, neutron stars, and other objects in space.


Krishnapatnam Port

Relevance: Geography

Context: Gautam Adani owned conglomerate Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones (APSEZ), which had last year acquired a 75 per cent stake in Krishnapatnam port has acquired an additional 25 per cent, making it a fully owned port.

More about the Port

  • Krishnapatnam Port popularly known as KPCL is a privately built and owned all-weather, deep water port on the east coast of India, located in the Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The port has its history back to Vijayanagar Emperor when Sri Krishnadevaraya used to operate it. So, the name was given to it as Krishnapatnam Port.
  • In the 1980s, the Government of India declared the Port as a ‘minor port’.
  • Ports in India are classified as Major and Minor Ports according to the jurisdiction of the Central and State government as defined under the Indian Ports Act, 1908e., Major Ports(union list) are owned and managed by the Central Government and Minor ports (concurrent list) are owned and managed by the State Governments.

Vijayanagar Empire

  • Vijayanagar or “city of victory” was the name of both a city and an empire. The empire was founded in the fourteenth century (1336 AD) by Harihara and Bukka of the Sangama dynasty.
  • They made Hampi as the capital city. In 1986, Hampi was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Krishnadevaraya (ruled 1509-29) of the Tuluva dynasty was the most famous ruler of Vijayanagar. His rule was characterised by expansion and


Jordan

Relevance: Geography

Context: Intensions within Jordan’s royal household, Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein, the former crown prince and half-brother of ruling monarch Abdullah, has reportedly been placed under house arrest.

More about Jordan

  • Jordan is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River.
  • Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Palestine (West Bank). The Dead Sea is located along its western borders and the country has a coastline on the Red Sea in its extreme south-west.
  • Jordan is a semi-arid country with a population numbering 10 million, making it the 11th-most populous Arab country.
  • Sunni Islam, practised by around 95% of the population, is the dominant religion and coexists with an indigenous Christian minority.
  • Jordan is classified as a country of “high human development” with an “upper middle income” economy.

Levant Region

  • The Levant, also known as the Eastern Mediterranean, is a geographic and cultural region consisting of the “eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt”.
  • The Levant consists today of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, the Palestinian territories, and parts of southern Turkey

Ordinance

Relevance: Polity

Context: The Central Government has promulgated Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code(Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to allow pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate debtors classified as micro, small or medium enterprises under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006.

  • In the Cooper case, (1970), the Supreme Court held that the President’s satisfaction can be questioned in a court on the ground of malafide.
  • In the C. Wadhwa case (1987), the court ruled that successive repromulgation of ordinances with the same text without any attempt to get the bills passed by the assembly would amount to violation of the Constitution and the ordinance so repromulgated is liable to be struck down

More about the ordinance

  • Article 123 of the Constitution empowers the President to promulgate ordinances during the recess of Parliament.
  • These ordinances have the same force and effect as an act of Parliament but are like temporary laws.
  • The ordinance-making power is the most important legislative power of the President. It has been vested in him to deal with unforeseen or urgent matters. But, the exercises of this power are subject to the following four limitations:
    1. He can promulgate an ordinance only when both the Houses of Parliament are not in session or when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session. An ordinance made when both the Houses are in session is void. Thus, the power of the President to legislate by ordinance is not a parallel power of legislation.
    2. He can make an ordinance only when he is satisfied that the circumstances exist that render it necessary for him to take immediate action. The decision of the President to issue an ordinance can be questioned in a court on the ground that the President has prorogued one House or both Houses of Parliament deliberately to promulgate an ordinance on a controversial subject
    3. His ordinance-making power is coextensive as regards all matters except duration, with the law-making powers of the Parliament. This has two implications:
      1. An ordinance can be issued only on those subjects on which the Parliament can make laws.
      2. An ordinance is subject to the same constitutional limitation as an act of Parliament. Hence, an ordinance cannot abridge or take away any of the fundamental rights.
    4. Every ordinance issued by the President during the recess of Parliament must be laid before both the Houses of Parliament when it reassembles. If the ordinance is approved by both the Houses, it becomes an act. If Parliament takes no action at all, the ordinance ceases to operate on the expiry of six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament. This means that the maximum life of an ordinance can be six months and six weeks, in case of non-approval by the Parliament (six months being the maximum gap between the two sessions of Parliament).
  • The President can also withdraw an ordinance at any time. However, his power of ordinance-making is not discretionary, and he can promulgate or withdraw an ordinance only on the advice of the council of ministers headed by the prime minister.
  • An ordinance like any other legislation can be retrospective, that is, it may come into force from a backdate. It may modify or repeal any act of Parliament or another ordinance. It can alter or amend a tax law also. However, it cannot be issued to amend the Constitution.
  • The rules of Lok Sabha require that whenever a bill seeking to replace an ordinance is introduced in the House, a statement explaining the circumstances that had necessitated immediate legislation by ordinance should also be placed before the House.

Alternative methods of debt recovery

  • Creditors can take possession and sell immovable properties under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (SARFAESI 2002) or file a criminal complaint about dishonoured cheques for recovery of outstanding money under Negotiable Instruments Act 1881.
  • Corporate restructuring scheme under Section 230- 232 of the Companies Act: scheme process is premised on ‘debtor-in-possession and scheme is binding on the company and all its creditors and shareholders.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)

Relevance: Economy

Context: The Central Government has promulgated Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code(Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to allow pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate debtors classified as micro, small or medium enterprises under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006.

More about IBC:

  • The IBC, 2016 was formulated to consolidate various laws, regulations, and rules concerning insolvency, bankruptcy, and liquidation of non-financial entities, systematically and comprehensively.
  • Insolvency is the inability of an entity to pay its bills as and when they become due and payable.
  • Bankruptcy is a situation when an entity is declared incapable of paying their dues and payable bills.
  • It did away with overlapping provisions contained in various laws–
    • Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985,
    • Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993,
    • SARFAESI Act, 2002 and Companies Act, 2013.
  • The IBC created a new institutional framework, consisting of a regulator, insolvency professionals, information utilities, and adjudicatory mechanisms to facilitate a formal and time-bound insolvency resolution process and liquidation.
  • The minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings has been raised to Rs. 1 crore (from Rs. 1 lakh, which indirectly insulates MSMEs).
  • IBC proposes a paradigm shift from the existing ‘Debtor in possession’ to a ‘Creditor in control’ regime.

Some important features of IBC

  • Covers: All individuals, companies, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), and partnership firms.
  • Adjudicating Authority: National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for companies and LLPs and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for individuals and partnership firms.
  • If the adjudicating authority accepts, an Insolvency resolution professional or IP is appointed.
  • The power of the management and the board of the firm is transferred to the committee of creditors (CoC) which comprises all financial creditors of the corporate debtor. The IP has to decide whether to revive the company (insolvency resolution) or liquidate it.
  • If they decide to revive, they have to find someone willing to buy the firm. They choose the party with the best resolution plan, that is acceptable to the majority of the creditors (66% for critical decisions and 51 % for routine decisions), to take over the management of the firm.
  • The law prescribes that this insolvency resolution process has to be completed within 180 days. It can be extended by 90 days if the case is complex. If a decision is not reached within the time frame, the firm will be liquidated.

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