17 June 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Consider the following statements with respect to Hallmarking Scheme

It is a scheme of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The Government of India has recently made Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery mandatory.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

a.   1 only

b.   2 only

c.   Both 1 and 2

d.   Neither 1 nor 2

2)Consider the following statements with respect to WISA Woodsat

It is the world’s first wooden satellite, to be launched by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The mission of the satellite is to test the applicability of wooden materials in spacecraft structures and expose it to extreme space conditions.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

a.   1 only

b.   2 only

c.   Both 1 and 2

d.   Neither 1 nor 2

3)With reference to ecological succession, the term Seral stage refers to

 a) Intermediate stage in an ecological succession.

 b) Final stage in the ecological succession that is in near equilibrium with the environment.

 c) First stage of primary succession in an area.

 d) First stage of secondary succession in areas where natural biotic communities have been destroyed.

Ministry of Consumer Affairs has recently made Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery mandatory.

Hallmarking Scheme :-

It is a Scheme under Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Under the scheme, jewellers are registered for selling hallmarked jewellery and recognise testing and Hallmarking centres.

Hallmarking will enable Consumers/Jewellery buyers to make a right choice and save them from any unnecessary confusion while buying gold.

At present, only 30% of Indian Gold Jewellery is hallmarked.

Map of the Day

Prelims Specific News Items

1) The European Space Agency (ESA) has planned to put the world’s first wooden satellite, WISA Woodsat, on Earth’s orbit by the end of this year. The mission of the satellite is to test the applicability of wooden materials like plywood in spacecraft structures and expose it to extreme space conditions, such as heat, cold, vacuum and radiation, for an extended period of time.

It will be launched to space by the end of 2021 with a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex in New Zealand.

The satellite, designed and built in Finland will orbit at around 500-600 km altitude in a roughly polar Sun-synchronous orbit. WISA Woodsat is a 10x10x10 cm nano satellite built up from standardised boxes and surface panels made from plywood.

Woodsat’s only non-wooden external parts are corner aluminium rails used for its deployment into space and a metal selfie stick.

2)India Takes Giant Leap to Rank 14 in World Giving Index 2021 :- The Covid-19 pandemic has upended giving trends across the world as per Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) World Giving Index (WGI) 2021. Several Western economies have slipped down the Index due to Covid-related lockdowns. Despite the state-level restrictions India ranked 14th which Is several notches up from its 10-year average rank of 82 –published in a special 10-year anniversary edition in 2019.  

According to WGI 2021, India has consistently been working its way up from 2017, when it was ranked 124. In the years 2018 and 2019, India ranked 51 and 19 respectively. 

This year, Indonesia has topped the index, followed by Kenya and Nigeria. Ranked at 14, India is one of the fastest climbers. 

Released by the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF), this year’s survey highlights the impact of lockdowns on charitable giving, as the USA, Canada, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands — all fell out of the highest rankings.

3)Shenzhou-12: China to launch first crew to new space station – China is set to launch three astronauts into orbit to begin occupation of the country’s new space station.

The three men – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo – are expected to spend three months living and working aboard the Tianhe module some 380km (236 miles) above the Earth.

It will be China’s longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.

Their Shenzhou-12 capsule is primed atop its Long March 2F rocket.

In the past six months, the Asian nation has returned rock and soil samples to Earth from the surface of the Moon, and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars – both highly complex and challenging endeavours.

China’s Zhurong Mars rover takes a selfie

China launches first module of new space station

China’s Chang’e-5 mission returns Moon samples

4) Cabinet gave approval to the Deep sea Mission :- The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved ‘Deep Ocean Mission to study biodiversity, impact of climate change, and establish an offshore marine station to explore source of thermal energy. The Ministry of Earth Sciences will be the nodal ministry implementing this multi-institutional ambitious mission.

Union cabinet minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that such technology and expertise is now available with only five countries — US, Russia, France, Japan and China. India will now be sixth country to have it.

The deep ocean mission has six major components:

  • Ocean climate change advisory services: Under the mission, the government will work on development of models upon observations that will provide future projections of important climate variables. This will be made from seasonal to decadal time scales. This particular component will be supporting the “Blue Economy priority area of coastal tourism.”
  • Technologies for deep sea mining, and manned submersible: The component is focused on developing a manned submersible that will be able to carry three people to a depth of 6000 metres in the ocean. Scientific sensors and tools can also be taken for an Integrated Mining System in order to conduct exploration services. Notably, there are only a few countries that have acquired this capability. 
  • Conducting deep ocean survey and exploration: The Indian government is trying to explore as well as identify potential sites that have multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralization within the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges. 
  • Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity: Under this component, the focus of the government will be “bioprospecting of deep sea flora and fauna” and also study how utilization of deep sea can be sustainable.
  • Energy and freshwater from the ocean: For off-shore energy development, the aim under this component will be studying the detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). This will also power a desalination plant.
  • Advanced marine station for ocean biology. The marine stations will be formed to study ocean biology and engineering. “This component will translate research into industrial application and product development through on-site business incubator facilities,”

About ISA :-

It is an intergovernmental body that organizes, regulates and control all mineral (non-living resources) related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

HQ : Jamaica

Established in 1994

It is an organization established by the Law of the Sea Convention

It functions under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

It has an observer status to UN

Why in news? India extended contract with ISA to explore Polymetallic Nodules in Indian Ocean

Currently, exploration activities are going on in the seabed area for gathering information on the quality of minerals. Only thirteen countries and one intergovernmental consortium have contracts for the exploration of poly-metallic nodules. Mining code is on the formation, and the completion will provide a holistic regulation and framework for the exploration of resources in the area.

Assembly of ISA:-

Assembly considered the supreme authority of ISA, consists of all ISA members. The assembly is responsible for forming general policies and budgets for ISA.

5)EXIM Bank :-

EXIM stands for Export-Import

Export-Import Bank of India is a wholly owned Govt. of India entity

Established in 1982

HQ : Mumbai

Aim : financing, facilitating and promoting foreign trade of India.

The EXIM bank extends Line of Credit (loC) to overseas financial institutions, regional development banks, sovereign governments and other entities abroad.

Thus the EXIM Banks enables buyers in those countries to import developmental and infrastructure, equipment’s, goods and services from India on deferred credit terms.

The bank also facilitates investment by Indian companies abroad for setting up joint ventures, subsidiaries or overseas acquisitions.

Why in News :- India and Sri Lanka on Wednesday signed an agreement for a $100million loan from the Export Import Bank of India to support the island nation’s efforts to expand solar power coverage.

6) DTVSV Scheme was announced in Budget 2020 as “No Dispute but Trust Scheme-Vivad se Vishwas Scheme” to settle pending disputes relating to direct taxes. It is an attempt to release 9.32 trillion (as on 30th Nov 2019) blocked in approximately 483000 appeals pending at various appellate forums. The Scheme got assent from Hon’ble President on 17th March 2020 and became Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020.

PURPOSE OF THE SCHEME :-

The main purpose of the scheme is to –

1) Reduce pending litigation

2) Generate revenues for the Govt.

3) Get relief from pending dispute by paying disputed tax and get waiver from payment of interest and penalty and also get immunity from prosecution.

Editorials of the Day

Author says that Investment inflows have been at record level but still this is not a good news.

Why the Author says that total investment is not a very great news :-

  1. When we disaggregate the total net inflows we will find that most of the incoming money has been in the form of FPI ( Portfolio Investment ) which is considered Hot money and is here only till the investors make money or profit. Thus the quickly they come , the more quickly they go out. It is not like FDI which also brings Technology Transfer and technological know how.
  2. Also we Find that most of the investment is in the Services Sector and not in the Manufacturing or Production sector. The services sector attracted nearly 80% of the total inflows with information technology enabled services (ITeS) being the largest component, accounting for over 47% of the inflows thanks to the RBI’s classification of Jio Platforms as “Other information technology and computer service activities”.
  3. Also the Investment come mostly as Equity or shares and not actual production houses or factories.

Editorial 02 :- Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India

Author says that since the temperatures are rising because of the Global warming and the events of Heat waves have exacerbated the future needs of the cooling will increase and so is the number of AC’s used will be increased.

India, with currently low penetration levels of air conditioners (ACs), will likely require substantial cooling services to keep citizens healthy and productive. The India Cooling Action Plan projects the number of room air conditioners to become about four times in the next 10 years, and about 10 times in the next 20 years, making India the world’s largest energy user for cooling.

Large scale adoption of efficient cooling appliances will be essential to providing the required thermal comfort in a low carbon manner. We find that low levels of energy efficiency awareness are a major bottleneck that hinders the
purchase of more efficient appliances.

A third of the households did not know of the Star Labelling programme, which is a government programme mandatory for refrigerators and air conditioners. Of the households that had heard of the programme, only half of them understood what it meant.

We find that it is this set of informed households that are more likely to own a higher efficiency AC, and also likely to use the appliance efficiently.

What Else Can be done :- Awareness campaigns on the benefits of energy efficiency along with subsidies and financial incentives that help with the higher upfront costs can help drive up the adoption of more efficient technologies. Encouraging the use of passive cooling alternatives including energy efficient building designs can help provide the desired thermal comfort with reduced dependence on energy intensive cooling technologies.

Editorial 03 : Higher education and COVID-19

Author highlights the issues of Higher Education Campuses after the Outbreak of Corona.

Issues :-

Author says that the UGC expects the Campuses to provide sanitizers, thermal scanners, etc but the budgetary allocation for the Higher Education has still not increased.

Author says that till the colleges especially the state govt. ones are provided with ample Financial resources it would be very difficult for them to provide these.

Also Author says that there has been deaths of several teachers and that is a major hit to the Higher Education.

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