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Friday, April 23, 2021

Daily Current Affairs, 23rd April 2021



1)  World Book and Copyright Day: 23 April

•The World Book and Copyright Day (also known as ‘International Day of the Book’ and ‘World Book Day’), is an annual event organized on April 23 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. April 23 is chosen because it marks the birth and death of several prominent authors. For instance, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Josep Pla died on April 23 and Manuel Mejia Vallejo and Maurice Druon were born on April 23.

2)  UN English Language Day & UN Spanish Language Day

•The UN English Language Day and UN Spanish Language Day is observed annually on 23 April. For English, 23 April has been chosen to mark both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare. For the Spanish Language, the Day was chosen because the day is also observed as Hispanic Day in Spain, meaning the Spanish speaking world.

3)  India Ranks 87th in WEF Global Energy Transition Index 2021

•India is placed at the 87th position among 115 countries in the 2021 Energy Transition Index (ETI). The report is published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), prepared in collaboration with Accenture to track nations on the current performance of their energy systems across various aspects.

4)  Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 held

•The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 was held in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province. The theme of the conference – “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation”.

•The forum, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, has not only played a unique role in pooling consensus and putting forward valuable “Boao proposals,” but also engaged countries in addressing global issues and promoting world development and prosperity.

5)  PM Modi Participates in Leaders’ Summit on Climate

•Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the “Leaders’ Summit on Climate”, hosted by the President of the U.S.A. Joe Biden. The two-day conference has been organised virtually on 22-23 April 2021, which coincides with the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Paris Agreement on climate change for signature.

6)  CAG GC Murmu selected as external auditor for Hague

•India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), GC Murmu has been chosen as the external auditor by the Hague-based Conference of State Parties of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for a three-year term starting 2021.

•India was also selected as a member of the executive council of the OPCW representing the Asia group for another two-year term.

7)  NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover extracts first oxygen from Red Planet

•According to NASA a toaster-size experimental instrument aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. Mars’ atmosphere is 96 per cent carbon dioxide. MOXIE works by separating oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. MOXIE is expected to extract oxygen at least nine more times over the course of a Martian year (nearly two years on Earth).

•This technology demonstration was designed to ensure the instrument survived the launch from Earth, a nearly seven-month journey through deep space, and a touchdown with Perseverance on February 18. The growing list of “firsts” for Perseverance, NASA’s newest six-wheeled robot on the Martian surface, includes converting some of the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen.

8)  Rekha Menon takes over as first woman chairperson of Nasscom

•Accenture India’s chairperson, Rekha M Menon has been appointed as chairperson of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), becoming the first woman to take the top role in the software lobby group’s 30-year history. She succeeds U B Pravin Rao, chief operating officer of Infosys as Nasscom’s chairperson. TCS President Krishnan Ramanujam will be the vice-chairperson.

9)  S&P Projects India’s GDP Growth Forecast at 11% in FY22

•The S&P Global Ratings has estimated the Indian economy to grow at 11 per cent in the current fiscal, i.e. 2021-22 (FY22). In terms of the sovereign rating, S&P currently has a ‘BBB-‘ rating on India with a stable outlook. Earlier, for 2020-21, the S&P estimated the Indian economy to contract 8 per cent.

10)  Fitch Ratings Affirms India’s Sovereign Rating at ‘BBB-‘

•Rating agency Fitch Ratings has kept the sovereign rating of India unchanged at ‘BBB-‘ with a negative outlook. Earlier, Fitch had estimated GDP contraction of 7.5 per cent in 2020-21 and growth of 12.8 per cent in the fiscal year FY22, followed by 5.8 per cent in FY23.

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Vision IAS PT 365 International Relations Prelims 2021 PDF


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The HINDU Notes – 23rd April 2021



📰 India joins search for Indonesian submarine

Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel to assist Indonesia in operations off Bali.

•The Indian Navy on Thursday dispatched its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) from Visakhapatnam to support the Indonesian Navy in search and rescue efforts for its submarine  KRI Nanggala that went missing on Wednesday with 53 personnel onboard.

•“Spoke to the Defence Minister of Indonesia, General Prabowo Subianto over the phone and shared my pain over the news of missing submarine Nanggala and its crew members. India is extending its full support to the ongoing Indonesian rescue efforts,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter. “I have already directed the Indian Navy to move its DSRV to Indonesia. I have also tasked the Indian Air Force to see the feasibility of induction of the DSRV intervention system by air,” he added.

•On April 21, an alert was received by Indian Navy through International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), regarding the missing Indonesian submarine, the Navy said in a statement. The submarine was reportedly exercising in a location 25 miles north of Bali, it stated.

•The DSRV departed by sea and has to cover a distance of approximately 2,500 nautical miles, a Navy official said.

•Air Chief Marhal Hadi Tjahjanto, Commander of Indonesian armed forces had said KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a torpedo firing exercise when it went missing. The Indonesian Defence Ministry said the submarine lost contact after being granted clearance to dive.

•Indonesian Navy launched a massive search and rescue effort for the missing submarine and also requested assistance from countries in the region which had submarine rescue capability. The 53 personnel onboard includes 49 crew members, three gunners and its commander. The German-built submarine was in service with the Indonesian Navy since 1981 and completed a two-year refit in South Korea in 2012.

•India is amongst the few countries in the world capable of undertaking Search and Rescue of a disabled submarine through a DSRV, the Navy said.

•“Indian Navy’s DSRV system can locate a submarine upto 1,000m depth utilising its state of the art Side Scan Sonar (SSS) and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV),” it stated, adding that after the submarine is successfully located, another sub module of DSRV — the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) — links with the submarine to rescue the trapped personnel. The SRV can also be used to provide emergency supplies to the submarine.

•Under the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Indonesia, Indian and Indonesian navies have been exercising regularly and deepened cooperation in recent years.

Australian assistance

•Singapore Navy has already pressed its rescue vessel while Australia too has offered assistance.

•“RSN’s MV Swift Rescue — our submarine rescue vessel — was dispatched expeditiously yesterday afternoon, as fast as she could get ready, after our Navy Chief received a request for assistance from his Indonesian counterpart. A medical team was also added to the regular crew in the event that hyperbaric care would be needed,” said Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Twitter.

•The site for search operations, near Bali, is more than 1,500 km away and waters are deep, which is why MV Swift Rescue sailed off as soon as she could, Mr. Ng said in a Facebook post.

Indian DSRV

•Indian Navy deployed the DSRVs, a critical capability for submarine rescue, in December 2018 and has since deployed two DSRVs at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam on the west and east coast respectively to provide redundancy, high operational availability and early response to deal with a submarine contingency. The Indian DSRV, supplied by James Fisher Defence, U.K., is the latest in terms of technology and capabilities, one official said.

📰 Joe Biden tells world leaders U.S. will cut emissions by up to 52% by 2030

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India’s new Covid-19 Vaccine Policy


 Why in news?

Recently Centre has said that India will expand its vaccination coverage to everyone aged 18 and older from May 1, 2020.

What are the changes in procurement?

  • In the first three phases only healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above the age of 45 were vaccinated.
  • So the centre procured the entire quantity of vaccines from the manufacturers- Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) and distributed it to states.
  • The states distributed the stock to government vaccination centres, which administered the vaccine free of cost and to private hospitals that charged recipients Rs 250 per dose.
  • From May 1, the supply will be divided into two baskets:
  1. 50 per cent for the Centre;
  2. 50 per cent for the open market;
  • Through the second — non-Government of India — channel state governments, private hospitals, and industries can procure and administer the vaccine.
  • Free vaccination would be available at all vaccination centres that receive doses from the Government of India.

What will be the cost of a dose at a private centre?

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Falling Oil and Gas Production in India


 What is the issue?

  • India’s crude oil production fell by 5.25% and natural gas production by 8.1% in the FY21.
  • While Covid-19 related delays are among the key reasons cited, India’s crude oil and natural gas production have been falling consistently since 2011-12, and here is why.

What is the key reason for the falling production?

  • Most of India’s crude oil and natural gas production comes from ageing wells that have become less productive over time.
  • So, producers would have to invest more in extracting oil and gas from more difficult fields.
  • This is done using technologically intensive means such as ultradeepwater fields.

Who are the key players?

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

GS SCORE FACT FILE- Geography Indian Soil PDF


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Daily Current Affairs, 22nd April 2021



1)  International Mother Earth Day: 22 April

•Earth Day or International Mother Earth Day is observed globally on 22 April every year. The Day will be celebrated all over the world to spread awareness for Earth’s wellbeing and to encourage people to support environmental protection. World Earth Day 2021 will mark the 51st Anniversary of the day since it started being observed in 1970. Earth Day was renamed officially by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day.

•The theme of 2021 International Mother Earth Day is Restore Our Earth.

2)  International Girls in ICT Day: 22 April

•International Girls in ICT Day marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April. This year International Girls in ICT Day is observed on 22nd April 2021. International Girls in ICT Day aims to inspire a global movement to increase the representation of girls and women in technology. Today, let’s recommit to the goal of equal access for young women and girls to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

•The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in the world’s fastest-growing sector.

3)  Care Ratings Projects India’s GDP growth forecast at 10.2% for FY22

•Care Ratings has revised downwards the GDP growth forecast of India to 10.2 per cent in 2021-22 (FY22). Earlier this was estimated between 10.7-10.9 per cent. This cut in the GDP is based on the fact that economic activities are getting affected across the country due to curbs imposed by states amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

4)  ICRA Slashes India’s GDP Forecast by 0.5% to 10.5% in FY22

•The domestic rating agency ICRA has cut the growth estimate of India for 2021-22 by 0.5 per cent on the upper end and now expects the economy to grow 10-10.5 per cent in 2021-22 as against 10-11 per cent estimated earlier. The downward revision in the forecast follows the lockdowns and restrictions which are getting imposed once again due to rising COVID-19 cases.

5)  India elected to 3 bodies of U.N. Economic and Social Council

India has been elected by acclamation, to three bodies of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2022.

•Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)

•Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

•Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP)

6)  Tamil Nadu’s Arjun Kalyan becomes 68th Indian Grandmaster

•Tamil Nadu’s, Arjun Kalyan became India’s 68th Chess Grandmaster when he crossed the 2500 ELO mark after beating Dragan Kosic in the fifth round of GM Round Robin “Rujna Zore-3” in Serbia. Arjun is coached by IM Saravanan and Ukrainian GM Aleksandr Goloshchapov and began playing chess at the age of nine and got his FIDE rating a year later. Viswanathan Anand became the country’s first Grandmaster, in 1988.

7)  Australia announces partnership with India for Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

•Australia has announced a grant of Rs 81.2 million (AUD 1.4 million) under the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI). IPOI was proposed by Indian Prime Minister Modi at the East Asia Summit in November 2019 and Australia is co-leading New Delhi in the marine ecology pillar of the initiative.

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The HINDU Notes – 22nd April 2021



📰 India again placed at 142nd rank in press freedom

It’s one of the most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly: RSF

•The 2021 World Press Freedom Index produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a French NGO, has again placed India at 142nd rank out of 180 countries. This despite the fact that for a year, under directions from the Cabinet Secretary, an Index Monitoring Cell worked to improve the world rankings, including a meeting between Ambassador to France with the RSF officials to lobby for a change in the ranking in the index compiled by them.

•In 2016, India’s rank was 133 which has steadily climbed down to 142 in 2020. The RSF report says India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly. They are exposed to every kind of attack, including police violence against reporters, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.

•Fearing such an adverse assessment, in February last year, on the directions of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the Index Monitoring Cell was set up in 18 Ministries to find ways to improve the position on 32 international indices. Information and Broadcasting Ministry was delegated to look at the freedom of press index.

•As per the report of this Index Monitoring Cell, accessed by The Hindu, on April 26 last year, the PIB Additional Director General first wrote to Chairman of the RSF Pierre Haski asking for criteria for the survey on the basis of which they compile the index, for better understanding of the ranking. This was followed by a meeting between Ambassador to France Javed Ashraf with RSF’s Secretary General Christophe Deloire and Head of Asia Pacific desk Daniel Bastard.

•The minutes of this September meeting are part of the report of the Cell. Mr. Ashraf said the openness of the government to be criticised and questioned with respect to subjects like economy, international affairs and defence deals like Rafale are indicators of press freedom.

Questions on Internet ban in J&K

•The RSF representatives however questioned the extended Internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir from August 5, 2019 which went on to nearly a year. The Ambassador said the shutdown was for the security of the region. “Members of the press could access the Internet through the Internet kiosks set up by the government and there was active reporting in Indian and international media on the situation in Kashmir, which could only have been possible with unhindered access to the Internet and freedom of the press,” the minutes say.

•The minutes also note that on the issue of violence raised by the RSF, Mr. Ashraf said “many incidents reported as attacks on journalists are often a consequence of the law and order situation in some areas of India. This is often misrepresented as targeted attacks on journalists by the State in western media”.

📰 Indian ads further gender stereotypes, shows study

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Shankar IAS Target 2021 Polity & International Relations-I PDF


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