Current Affairs Weekly (31 May-06 June 2021 )

National

NITI Aayog Sustainable Development Index

The third edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and Dashboard 2020–21 has been released by NITI Aayog.Kerala again got the first rank followed by Himachal Pradesh while Bihar remained the last in the NITI Aayog’s index for sustainable development goals (SDG).India’s overall score across sustainable development goals improved marginally by six points, from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2021.The SDG India Index 2020–21 is developed in collaboration with the United Nations in India.On the other hand, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst-performing states this year with 52, 56, and 57 points, respectively.

MadadMaps.com

  • Indian diaspora in the US has launched a first-of-its-kind online map that shows available hospital beds in India with real-time updates.
  • Its main aim is to provide critical and time-sensitive information to anxious Covid-19 patients, as the country battles a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
  • ‘MadadMaps.com’ by Project Madad (help) is India’s first country-wide map of available hospital beds.

SC quashes case against Vinod Dua

  • The Supreme Court quashed a sedition case against veteran scribe Vinod Dua for his alleged comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his YouTube show last year, saying a 1962 verdict entitles every journalist to protection.
  • The Apex court observed that every journalist is entitled to protection under the Kedar Nath Singh judgment of 1962 which ruled that “dissent is not sedition,” even while upholding the constitutional validity of the sedition law in India.

PM Modi launches E-100 project in Pune

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the E-100 pilot project in Pune to mark the World Environment Day.
  • The ambitious project aims to set up a network for production and distribution of ethanol across the nation.
  • The Prime Minister also released the ‘Report of the Expert Committee on Road Map for ethanol blending in India 2020-2025’.

First hydrographic survey ship INS Sandhayak retires after 40 years

  • INS Sandhayak, the Indian Navy’s oldest hydrographic survey vessel, was decommissioned at Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam after serving the nation for 40 years.
  • The ship had took part in important operations like Op Pawan in Sri Lanka in 1987, Op Rainbow for humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the Tsunami in 2004.

COVID-19 Variants in India ‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’

  • The B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants of COVID-19, first identified in India, have been named as ‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’ respectively by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently.
  • The UN health agency named the B.1.617.1 variant of the COVID-19 as ‘Kappa’ while the B1.617.2 variant was dubbed ‘Delta’. Both the variants were first found in India.

SAGE(Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine)

  • The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment has virtually launched the SAGE (Senior care Aging Growth Engine) initiative and SAGE portal for elderly persons.
  • The SAGE project aims to identify, evaluate, verify, aggregate, and deliver products, solutions and services directly to the stakeholders.

Indus Best Mega Food Park at Raipur

  • Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Narendra Singh Tomar, virtually inaugurated the Indus Best Mega Food Park in Raipur (Chhatisgarh).
  • The Park will prove to be a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the State of Chhattisgarh.

New caves in Nashik’s Pandav Leni complex: ASI

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found three more caves in the Trirashmi Buddhist cave complex.
  • This cave is also known as Pandav Leni, near Nashik, Maharashtra.
  • Trirashmi caves are a group of 24 caves dated between 1BC and the 6-7AD.

Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) valid for lifetime

  • The Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced recently that the government has decided to extend the validity period of the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) qualifying certificate from 7 years to lifetime with retrospective effect from 2011.

India launches Mission Innovation Clean Tech Exchange to create a network of incubators

  • India has launched the Mission Innovation CleanTech Exchange, a global initiative, that will create a network of incubators across member countries to accelerate clean energy innovation.
  • The network, launched virtually at the Innovating to Net Zero Summit hosted by Chile, will provide access to the expertise and market insights needed to support new technologies to access new markets globally.
  • Mission Innovation 2.0 is the second phase of the global Mission Innovation initiative, launched alongside the Paris Agreement at the 2015 UN climate conference.

RDSO of Indian Railways becomes first Standard Developing Organization

  • The Research Design & Standards Organization of Indian Railways has become the first Institution to be declared Standard Developing Organization under the Bureau of Indian Standards.

Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 released

  • Education Minister Ramesh PokhriyalNishank released the Performance Grading Index 2019-20 for States and UTs.
  • Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have all scored higher than 90% in the Education Ministry’s Performance Grading Index for 2019-20.
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been placed in Level II or Grade I++.
  • Total 19 states/UTs have shown an improvement of 10% or 36 points vis a vis 2018-19 report.
  • The index grades States and Union Territories on a set of 70 parameters to assess transformational change in the field of education.

Science & environment

State of India’s Environment Report 2021

  • According to State of India’s Environment Report 2021, India’s rank has slipped by two places to 117 as compared to 2020 ranking on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • As per the report, Jharkhand & Bihar are least prepared to meet SDGs by 2030.
  • Jharkhand lags in five SDGs while Bihar lags on seven factors.
  • States and UTs with best overall score are Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh are on path of achieving SDGs.

Oasis of Hope, an online festival to mark World Environment Day

  • Films Division has presented “Oasis of Hope”, an online festival of films on the environment this weekend, on June 5-6, to mark the World Environment Day with the theme of ecosystem restoration.
  • It aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and ocean.
  • The films in the special “green package” are – The Jungle Man Loiya (21 mins / Farha Khatun), a film that highlights the story of LoiyaNgamba, a nature lover from a small hilly area in Manipur.

IISRgetsPatent for Black Pepper Micronutrient

  • Indian Institute of Spices Analysis has obtained a patent for black pepper micronutrient foliar formulation.
  • IISR has developed crop-specific designer micronutrient foliar formulations for main spices (black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cardamom) to beat the micronutrient deficiencies and meet the physiological and metabolic necessities of the spice crops.

Nano-Fibre based Amphotericin B oral tablets

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad has developed nano-fibre based oral tablets of Amphotericin B, called as AmB, to treat fungal infections post COVID treatment.
  • It is an antifungal medication used in serious fungal infections and leishmaniasis.
  • It is used to treat mucormycosis, aspergillosis, candidiasis, blastomycosis, cryptococcosis etc.

NTPC joins UN’s CEO Water mandateto step up work on water

  • NTPC Limited has become a signatory to the prestigious UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate.
  • The CEO Water Mandate is a UN Global Compact initiative to demonstrate the commitment and efforts of companies to better their water and sanitation agendas as part of long-term Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Chairman and Managing Director of NTPC, Shri Gurdeep Singh, has joined a select group of business leaders who recognize importance of water stewardship and is working to conserve water.

ICMR approves home-based Rapid Antigen Test kit

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has approved the second home-based Rapid Antigen Test kit developed by Abbott Rapid Diagnostics Division, Chicago.
  • The self-use kit named PanBio COVID-19 Antigen Test Device has been given provisional approval till 5th of July and the price of the kit will be declared by the company after that.

New Technique Called SWASTIIK to Disinfect Water

  • To improve the quality of water among Indian states and union territories, CSIR-NCL with the help of Water Technology Initiative of the department of science and technology (DST) and government of India has come up with novel technology called ‘SWASTIIK’ to disinfect water.
  • The technology is efficient in eliminating harmful bacteria including antibiotic-resistant strains, economically.

International

Global database to identify missing persons launched

  • The Interpol has launched a new global database named “I-Familia” to identify missing persons through family DNA and help the police solve cold cases in member countries.
  • More than 12,000 active Yellow Notices, which are international police alerts for missing persons, had been issued by the Interpol by late 2020.

G7 nations agree on uniform minimum corporate tax

  • A group of the world’s richest nations reached a landmark deal to close cross-border tax loopholes used by some of the world’s biggest companies.
  • It would back a minimum global corporation tax rate of at least 15%, and put in place measures to ensure that taxes were paid in the countries where businesses operate.

African Union suspends Mali after military coup and threatens sanctions

  • The African Union has suspended Mali’s membership in response to last week’s military coup and threatened sanctions if a civilian-led government is not restored.
  • The military arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister MoctarOuane last week and pressured them to resign, derailing a transition to democratic elections after another military coup last August ousted the previous administration.

Denmark parliament approves giant artificial island (Lynetteholm)

  • Plans for an artificial island to house 35,000 people and protect the port of Copenhagen from rising sea levels have been approved by Danish MPs.
  • The giant island, named Lynetteholm, would be connected to the mainland via a ring road, tunnels and a metro line.

America introduces EAGLE Act

  • A legislation to remove the per-country cap on permanent residency visas, or green cards, for the US has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
  • The Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act of 2021 will “benefit the US economy by allowing American employers to focus on hiring immigrants based on their merit, not their birthplace.
  • The bill will be advantageous for Indian job-seekers who currently rely on temporary visas or await green cards to work in the US.

First human case of H10N3 bird flu in China

  • The case of H10N3 bird flu announced by China is the first of its strain observed in humans.
  • As per WHO report,the patient is a 41-year-old male from Jiangsu Province, China.

China launches Fengyun-4B meteorological satellite

  • China successfully sent the Fengyun-4B weather satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit Wednesday with the country’s 16th orbital launch of 2021.
  • The 5,400-kilogram Fengyun-4B satellite will be used for weather analysis and forecasting, and environmental and disaster monitoring.

NASA Selects 2 Missions to Study ‘Lost Habitable’ World of Venus

  • NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor.
  • First one is DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging).
  • Second one is VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy)
  • VERITAS will map Venus’ surface to determine the planet’s geologic history and understand why it developed so differently than Earth.

2 Russian Crew Do Spacewalk at International Space Station

  • Two Russian cosmonauts ventured out of the International Space Station on a spacewalk to prepare for the arrival of a new Russian module.
  • It’s the first spacewalk for both Oleg Novitsky and PyotrDubrov, who arrived at the space station in April, and it’s expected to last about 6 1/2 hours.

‘Red tourism’ in China

  • As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, the popularity of ‘red tourism’, which involves visiting places that are of historical and cultural importance for the party, is at an all-time high in the country.
  • In China, ‘red tourism’ refers to visiting sites which have a modern revolutionary legacy.

China’s Sinovac Shot Cleared for Wider Global Use by the WHO

  • China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. received World Health Organization authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for a wider rollout of the controversial shot in countries scrambling for a supply of immunizations.
  • The WHO recommended its use for people aged 18 and older in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks between shots.

State

Raimona reserve forest becomes Assam’s sixth national park

  • Raimona reserve forest in lower Assam became the state’s sixth national park on Saturday.
  • Raimona also shares contiguous forest patches with Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park in Bhutan (1,999sqkm) creating a transboundary conservation landscape of more than 2,400sqkm.
  • Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Nameri National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Orang National Park are the five other existing national parks in the state.

Haryana CM inaugurates Oxi-van in Karnal & eco- friendly schemes

  • On the occasion of World Environment Day, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced that 80 acres of ‘Oxi-van’ (a forest) will be created in the Karnal district for people to visit.
  • There will be 10 types of forests in ‘Oxi-van’ and the work will begin soon.

Goa to restore forts, temples of Shivaji

  • A Konkani and Hindi version of the film, titled Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shivrajyabhishek Divas, was released on social media by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and covers the history of Goa and Shivaji’s role in fighting the Portuguese.

Delhi: AAP govt launches ‘Jahan Vote, Wahan Vaccination’ campaign

  • With the aim to vaccinate all people above 45 years against COVID-19 in Delhi within the next four weeks, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched ‘Jahan Vote, Wahan Vaccination’ campaign.
  • He launched the government’s plan of starting mass vaccination at booth level in a planned manner in the national capital.

‘Knowledge Economy Mission’ launched in Kerala

  • The state government of Kerala has launched Kerala Knowledge Mission which aims to transform the state to a knowledge economy.
  • At the heart of the initiative is a comprehensive digital platform for educated youngsters which help them upskill, enhance knowledge and empower to face the challenges of ever-changing job market.

Covid-Free Village Contest launched in Maharashtra

  • The Maharashtra government has decided to take an unprecedented and interesting route to ensure compliance with all Covid-19 precautionary norms in villages.
  • The state has announced ‘corona-free village’ competitions, where three villages in each revenue district will be awarded prizes up to ₹50 lakh.

Marathas gets 10% EWS quota in govt jobs, education in Maharashtra

  • The Maharashtra government has extended benefits under the economically weaker section quota to the Maratha community, days after the SC scrapped a separate reservation in jobs and education.
  • As per the government resolution, the Maratha community members can avail benefits under 10 per cent EWS reservation in government jobs and education.

Economy

HDFC Bank announces plans to become carbon neutral by 2031-32

  • Private sector lender HDFC Bank has announced its plans to become carbon-neutral by 2031-32.
  • As part of this initiative, the bank is looking at reducing its emissions, energy, and water consumption.
  • It will continue to incorporate and scale up the use of renewable energy in its operations.

SEBI increases overseas investment cap for individual MFs to $1 bn

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has revised the overseas investment limit for mutual funds (MFs).
  • The market regulator stated in a circular that MFs can make overseas investments up to $1 billion each, within the overall industry limit of $7 billion.

Expert group constituted on Fixation of Minimum wages

  • The Labour and Employment Ministry has constituted an expert group to provide technical inputs and recommendations on fixation of minimum wages and national floor for minimum wages.
  • The earlier panel, headed by Anoop Satpathy, Fellow, VV Giri National Labour Institute, was set up by the ministry on January 17, 2018, to undertake an evidence-based analysis to determine methodology for fixing national minimum wage.
  • The expert group has been constituted for a period of three years and is chaired by Ajit Mishra, Director, Institute of Economic Growth.

Appointed /Elected

SC, Justice Arun Mishra is NHRC chief

  • Nine months after he retired from the Supreme Court, Justice Arun Mishra has been appointed as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
  • Justice Mishra became a judge of the apex court in 2014 after having served as Chief Justice of the Rajasthan and Calcutta high courts.

Person/places

Naomi Osaka: She announced her withdrawal from Roland Garros 2021, after she was fined by French Open.French open fined her $15,000 and warned that she could face expulsion from tournament because she decided not to speak with press during tournament.

Alapan Bandyopadhyay: In a major turn of events in the ongoing tussle between the Centre and Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government over the repatriation of Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee finally informed that Bandyopadhyay has retired and the Bengal government has appointed him as chief advisor to the CM for the next three years

Award/Honour

David Diop wins International Booker Prize with WWI story

  • “At Night All Blood is Black” by French writer David Diop beat five other finalists to take the 50,000-pound ($70,000) prize, which is open to fiction in any language that has been translated into English. The prize money will be split between the author and his translator, Anna Moschovakis.
  • The novel is narrated by Alfa Ndiaye, a Senegalese soldier fighting for the then-imperial power France during World War I, and charts his descent into madness on the battlefield.

Important dates

World Environment Day 2021: 5 June

  • The theme for World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ and Pakistan will be the global host for the day.
  • This World Environment Day will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.

SPORTS

Athletics-Hassan smashes women’s 10,000 metres world record – World Athletics

  • Dutch long-distance runner Sifan Hassan broke the women’s 10,000 metres world record, clocking 29 minutes 6.82 seconds in a Continental Tour meeting on home soil in Hengelo.
  • Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana held the previous record of 29:17.45, set at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but Hassan shaved more than 10 seconds off that mark.

Asian Boxing Championships: Sanjeet Wins Gold; Amit Panghal, Shiva Thapa Endure Close Defeats

  • Sanjeet (91kg) fetched the lone gold among Indian men boxers with a stunning triumph over Kazakhstan’s Olympic-medallist VassiliyLevit even as defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg) settled for silver medals in the Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai.
  • With 15 medals in this edition, India surpassed its previous best-ever show at this Championship, achieved in 2019, when the country secured 13 medals in all, including two gold medals.

Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open Tournament

  • Naomi Osaka, announced her withdrawal from Roland Garros 2021, after she was fined by French Open.
  • French open fined her $15,000 and warned that she could face expulsion from tournament because she decided not to speak with press during tournament.

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