Daily Current Affairs 22

1th January 2021 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 1th January,2021

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • A) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
  • Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) (TH, pg 1)
  • B) Economic Developments: India and World
  • Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) and the Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA) (PIB)
  • India’s Wheat Exports at an All-Time Record High (PIB)
  • India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Exports (PIB)
  • What are Treasury Bills (T-bills) (PIB)
  • C) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations
  • National Investigation Agency (NIA) (TH, pg 8)
  • D) International Relations
  • Trincomalee Oil Tank FarmProject (TH, pg 10)
  • E) Art, Culture and History
  • Shahi Idgah Masjid (TH, pg 9)
  • Sahitya Akademi Awards (TH, pg 13)
  • F) Clever Picks (Miscellaneous)
  • Bollard Pull Tugs (PIB)
  • Reading Campaign ‘Padhe Bharat’(PIB)

 

A) Science and Technology, Defence, Space

  1. Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) (TH, pg 1)
  • Context: The tri-service inquiry ordered into the crash of an Indian Air Force helicopter which killed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat and others is complete with officials indicating the probable cause to be “Controlled Flight into Terrain” (CFIT).

Analysis

  • The Mi-17V5 helicopter with Gen. Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 others including his staff, the pilots and crew was en route to the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, from Sulur on December 8 2021 when it crashed in the Nilgiris close to the destination.
  • CFIT means that the pilot is in full control of the aircraft but due to faulty situational awareness, the aircraft strikes the terrain.
  • An example could be of an aircraft doing low flying over a large expanse of water and striking it due to lack of depth perception. A similar strike could happen over snow.
  • A CFIT means the helicopter was fully serviceable and instruments are in order. The crash is likely due to loss of situational awareness and disorientation which in most cases is due to poor weather.
  • The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines CFIT as an unintentional collision with terrain (the ground, a mountain, a body of water, or an obstacle) while an aircraft is under positive control.
  • “Most often, the pilot or crew is unaware of the looming disaster until it is too late. CFIT most commonly occurs in the approach or landing phase of flight,” an FAA fact sheet stated.

 

B) Economic Developments: India and World

  1. Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) and the Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA) (PIB)
  • Context:The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry released Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) for the Month of November, 2021.

Analysis

Core Industries

  • Index of Eight Core Industries has the base: 2011-12.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • The Index of Eight Core Industries is a monthly production index, which is also considered as a lead indicator of the monthly industrial performance.
  • Since April, 2014, Electricity generation data from Renewable sources are also included.
  • ICI measures combined and individual performance of production in selected eight core industries.
  • The eight core industries are, in descending order of their weights:
  • Petroleum Refinery Products (weight: 28.04%)
  • Electricity (weight: 19.85%)
  • Steel (weight: 17.92 %)
  • Coal production (weight: 10.33 %)
  • Crude Oil (weight: 8.98 %)
  • Natural Gas (weight: 6.88 %)
  • Cement (weight: 5.37%)
  • Fertilizer (weight: 2.63 %)

Aluminium sector as India’s ninth core industry

  • The Centre must actively consider classifying the aluminium sector as India’s ninth core industry, according to a report by VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog member, and Aniruddha Ghosh, a Delhi-based economist.
  • The aluminium sector contributes to nearly 2 per cent of manufacturing GDP and is a high direct and an indirect employment multiplier creating close to 800,000 jobs.

Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA)

  • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. The main functions of the Office of Economic Adviser include, inter alia the following:

Policy Functions

  • Economic policy inputs on industrial development.
  • Rendering advice relating to formulation of Industrial Policy, Foreign Trade Policy with respect to industrial sector in general with thrust on manufacturing, issues relating to bilateral and multilateral trade, as well as taxes and duties related to industry, including but not restricted to safeguard and anti-dumping duties.
  • Analysis of trends of industrial production and growth.
  • Examination of multilateral and bilateral issues and processing Policy Notes with economic implications referred to the Office.

Statistical Functions

  • Compiling and releasing monthly Wholesale Price Indices
  • Compiling and releasing monthly Index of Core Industries Production
  • Developing other Indices on experimental basis, e.g. select business service price indices
  • Supervising as a ‘source agency’, compilation of monthly production statistics for identified industrial items, their validation, and onward transmission for computation of the monthly Index of Industrial Production (IIP) by Central Statistics Office.
  • Monthly Statistical compilation of macro indicators (secondary information).

 

  1. India’s Wheat Exports at an All-Time Record High (PIB)
  • Context:In the current financial year (2021-22), India’s wheat exports are expected to achieve an all-time record high.

Analysis

  • With India being the world’s top rice exporter, wheat exports have witnessed a 48.56 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during 2016-2020.
  • India’s wheat exports are mainly to neighbouring countries with Bangladesh having the largest share.
  • In 2020-21, India entered new wheat markets such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar and Indonesia, according to data by Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS).
  • India is not among the top ten wheat exporters in the global trade. India accounts for even less than one per cent in world wheat export. However, its share has increased from 0.14 per cent in 2016 to 0.54 per cent in 2020.
  • India is the second largest producer of wheat with a share of around 13.53 per cent of world total production, however, a major chunk of it goes towards domestic consumption.
  • The unit price of wheat also plays an important role in international trade. While the unit export price of wheat has increased for all countries in the last five years, India’s unit export price is slightly higher than that of other countries. This is one of the factors adversely impacting wheat exports from India.

Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S)

  • The Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), Kolkata, under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, is the pioneer official organization for collection, compilation and dissemination of India’s Trade Statistics and Commercial Information.

What are the different types of trade data available from DGCI&S?

  • The DGCI&S compiles and releases monthly export & import data on merchandise trade.
  • It also compiles and releases yearly data on inter-state movement of goods in India by river, rail & air; customs & excise revenue collections of the Indian union, inland coasting trade consignments of India and foreign coastal cargo movements of India.

What are the different types of information disseminated by DGCI&S?

  • Aggregate level monthly trade data by commodity, country, port or any combination of these three parameters are disseminated by DGCI&S to the private users on payment basis.
  • The Indian Trade Journal, a weekly publication of the DGCI&S contains tenders of high value of all Government of India Organizations, State Governments, PSUs. It also contains trade information related to export/import.

 

  1. India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Exports (PIB)
  • Context: India’s agricultural and processed food exports have grown at a steady pace in the last decade.

Analysis

  • Non-Basmati Rice has emerged as India’s top export item among the many agricultural and processed food product exports under Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) basket, contributing close to one fourth of the total exports in 2020-21.
  • Top three products in the APEDA export basket in 2020-21 were Non-Basmati Rice (23.22% share), Basmati Rice (19.44%) and Buffalo Meat (15.34%) and these products together account for 58 per cent of total shipments.
  • Benin, Nepal, Bangladesh, Senegal and Togo were the top importers of Non-Basmati Rice from India in 2020-21.
  • Major export destinations for Basmati Rice in 2020-21 were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and United Arab Emirates.
  • For Buffalo Meat exports, the top importing nations were Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt and Indonesia.
  • India’s share in world agricultural exports stood at 2.1 per cent in 2019, moving up from 1.71 per cent in 2010.
  • However, India’s rank in worldwide agricultural exports slipped to 16 in 2019 from 17 in 2010.
  • In terms of share of top ten products exports under APEDA basket, there has not been much change in the last one decade even as India’s exports reached more countries across the world.
  • The top ten APEDA exports in 2020-21 were Non-Basmati Rice, Basmati Rice, Buffalo Meat, Miscellaneous Preparations, Groundnuts, Cereal Preparations, Maize, Wheat, Processed Vegetables, Processed Fruits, Juices & Nuts and Cashew Kernels (in decreasing order of their value).
  • The rise in export of agricultural and processed food products has been largely due to the various initiatives taken by APEDA.
  • APEDA organizes National events like AAHAR, Organic World Congress, BioFach India etc. to promote agri-exports.
  • Another key initiative includes development and implementation of traceability systems which ensure the food safety and quality compliances of the importing countries.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

  • APEDA is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to promote agricultural and processed food products exports.
  • The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).

 

  1. What are Treasury Bills (T-bills) (PIB)
  • Context: After reviewing the cash position of the Central Government, the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with Reserve Bank of India, has decided to notify the amounts for the issuance of Treasury Bills for the quarter ending March 2022.

Analysis

  • Treasury bills, which are money marketinstruments, are short term debt instruments issued by the Government of India and are presently issued in three tenors, namely, 91 days, 182 days and 364 days.
  • These are usually issued by the Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the Central Government.
  • T-bills are zero coupon securities and pay no interest.
  • Instead, they are issued at a discount and redeemed at the face value at maturity.
  • For example, a 91 days Treasury bill of ₹100/- (face value) may be issued at say ₹ 98.20, that is, at a discount of say, ₹1.80 and would be redeemed at the face value of ₹100/-.
  • T-bills are issued by the Government through an auction which is open for individual investors, banks, trusts and other institutions.
  • Because of the low investments involved, they also cater to small and new investors.
  • T-bills are highly liquid negotiable instruments available in both Financial Markets, i.e., primary and secondary markets.
  • As these are issued by RBI on behalf of the Government, the risk factor involved in T-bills is almost negligible.
  • T-bills are issued through non-competitive bidding, which allows individual and retail investors to freely participate in the bidding process.
  • Non- competitive bidding is a practice where a bidder does not have to quote the yield or price in the bid.
  • The main aim is to meet the short-term financial requirements of the Government.
  • Not only that, these are also issued in the open market to regulate the inflation level of the economy and the spending/ borrowing habits of individuals.
  • During a boom when the cash flow in the economy is on the higher side, the Government issues these bills in order to encourage individuals to save and also curb the money supply.
  • Contrarily, during the phase of depression, the money supply is lower. So, the bills issued are redeemed in order to correct the situation.
  • The primary disadvantage of government treasury securities is that they are known to generate relatively lower returns when compared to standard stock market investment tools.
  • Treasury billsare zero-coupon securities, issued at a discount to investors. Hence, total returns generated by such instruments remain constant through the tenure of bond, irrespective of economic conditions and business cycle fluctuations.
  • A drawback of T-bills is that the short-term capital gains (STCG) earned on these securities is taxable under the Income Tax law.

Government Security (G-Sec)

  • A Government Security (G-Sec) is a tradeable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments. It acknowledges the Government’s debt obligation.
  • Such securities are short term (usually called treasury bills, with original maturities of less than one year) or long term (usually called Government bonds or dated securities with original maturity of one year or more).
  • In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs).

What are the various types of financial markets?

  • The financial markets can broadly be divided into money and capital market.
  • Money market is a market for the trading and issuance of short term non equity debtinstruments (usually less than one year) including treasury bills, commercial papers, bankers’ acceptance, certificates of deposits, etc.
  • Capital market is a market for the trading and issuance of long-term debt and equity shares.
  • This also includes private placement sources of debt and equity as well as organized markets like stock exchanges. Capital market can be further divided into primary and secondary markets.

What is the difference between the primary market and the secondary market?

  • In the primary market, securities are offered to public for subscription for the purpose of raising capital or fund.
  • Secondary Market refers to a market where securities are traded after being initially offered to the public in the primary market and/or listed on the Stock Exchange.
  • Majority of the trading is done in the secondary market. Secondary market comprises of equity markets and the debt markets.
  • Secondary market could be either auction or dealer market. While stock exchange is the part of an auction market, Over-the-Counter (OTC) is a part of the dealer market.

 

C) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations

  1. National Investigation Agency (NIA) (TH, pg 8)
  • Context: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case against Jaswinder Singh Multani, a Germany-based operative of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), and his associates for allegedly attempting to revive terrorism in Punjab.
  • Following a directive from the Central government, the agency has initiated the probe under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. An NIA team may soon visit Germany to pursue the leads in the case.

Analysis

  • National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It isthe only truly federal agency in the country, along the lines of the FBI in the United States, more powerful than the CBI.
  • NIA has powers to take suo motucognisanceof terror activities in any part of India and register a case, to enter any state without permission from the state government, and to investigate and arrest people.
  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Amendment Act, 2019 provides for the national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences).
  • Scheduled offences: The schedule to the Act specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA.
  • These include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
  • The Amendment Act also allows the NIA to investigate the following offences, in addition:
  • (i) human trafficking,
  • (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes,
  • (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms,
  • (iv) cyber-terrorism, and
  • (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

Jurisdiction of the NIA

  • The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to investigation of such offences, across India.
  • In addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
  • The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.

Special Courts

  • Both the central and the state governments may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
  • The central and the state governments are required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court.

 

D) International Relations

  1. Trincomalee Oil Tank FarmProject (TH, pg 10)
  • Context: Sri Lanka recently announced its decision to sign three lease agreements on developing the strategic Trincomalee oil tank farm with India.

Analysis

  • In early 2021, Sri Lanka had unilaterally cancelled a tripartite agreement to develop a Colombo port terminal (East Container Terminal) with India and Japan.
  • The nearly century-old oil tanks need to be refurbished — at the cost of millions of dollars — if they are to be fit for use again. (Hence the role of India in this deal.)
  • The Trincomalee project pertains to some 100 (One damaged total 99) oil storage tanks — built by the British during Second World War — in Sri Lanka’s eastern Trincomalee district.
  • It is located in ‘China Bay’ in close proximity to the internationally coveted deep water natural harbour of Trincomalee.

Significance of the deal

  • India sees potential in Trincomalee as a strategic counterweight to Hambantota port (being developed by China in Sri Lanka)

 

E) Art, Culture and History

  1. Shahi Idgah Masjid (TH, pg 9)
  • Context:In the past one year, multiple petitions have been filed in court seeking to “reclaim” the land being occupied by the Shahi Idgah Masjid, built during the reign of Aurangzeb, in the Krishna Janmabhoomi complex (Mathura, UP).

Analysis

Shahi Idgah Masjid

  • Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (r.1659-1707) ordered the construction of the red sandstone mosque for the celebration of the Muslim festival of Id in 1670.
  • The mosque was built on the site of an earlier temple, Keshava Deva in Mathura, on the banks of the river Yamuna.
  • Mathura became the centre for the Vaishnava cult by the 15th century and it is celebrated now above all as the site which Hindu mythology designates as the birthplace of Krishna, the popular incarnation of Vishnu.

Brief about Aurangzeb

  • Aurangzeb was born in November 1618 (Dhod, Malwa), and died in March 1707 (Agra, India).
  • Aurangzeb was the third son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan; his mother was Mumtaz Mahal, who is buried in the Taj Mahal.
  • Aurangzeb showed his ability in administrative and military matters in various appointments, which gradually caused him to envy his eldest brother Dara Shikoh, the designated successor to the throne.
  • Aurangzeb placed his father under house arrest, drove one brother into death, had two other brothers executed and in 1658 declared himself emperor of the Mughal empire, assuming the name ‘Alamgir (“the World Seizer”).
  • Aurangzeb did not share the interest of his ancestors and relatives in the arts, drink and the good life generally but was serious-minded and religious.
  • The economic boom had led to the development of artisanal activity in all villages, and the municipalities had become economically much less dependent on the central power.
  • Therefore, Aurangzeb tried to stem the growing independence of the different parts of his empire by returning to autocratic rule.
  • He abandoned the policy of separation of religion and state and turned away from the policy of religious tolerance that during the previous three generations had kept Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others together in peace and common destiny.
  • In 1675 he executed the Sikh guru Tegh Bahadur because of his refusal to convert to Islam.
  • The Sikh rebellion that followed continued throughout Aurangzeb’s reign; relations between Sikhs and Muslims have been strained ever since.
  • In 1679 Aurangzeb reintroduced the jizya,a poll tax for non-Muslims that had been abolished by Akbar.
  • In return for payment of the jizyah, non-Muslim populations—specifically Jews and Christians—were granted protection of life and property and the right to practice their religion.
  • In the south of the empire the Maratha kingdom was conquered and broken up and its ruler Sambhaji executed in 1689, which started a long and exhausting guerilla campaign by the Maratha Hindu population.
  • The ongoing struggles placed severe strain on the empire’s finances, and increased taxation led to several peasant revolts, often but not always under the guise of religious movements.

 

  1. Sahitya Akademi Awards (TH, pg 13)
  • Context: Sahitya Akademi announced its prestigious Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 in various languages
  • Author Namita Gokhale won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2021 in English for her novel ‘Things to Leave Behind’; the award was given to 19 other authors in various languages.

Analysis

Sahitya Akademi or India’s National Academy of Letters

  • Though set up by the Government resolution, the Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Culture.
  • Akademi gives awards annually to literary works in the languages it has recognized
  • Akademi has recognised 24 languages: 22 languages enumerated in the 8th schedule of Constitution of India, English and Rajasthani.
  • It has also system of electing eminent writers as Fellows (For Indian citizens) and Honorary Fellows (For Foreign nationals) called Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.

List of Awards and their purpose

  • Sahitya Akademi Award, also known as Sahitya Akademi Main Award, is conferred on 24 writers in 24 languages annually for the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the major Indian languages recognised by the Akademi.
  • Sahitya Akademi Award is the most prestigious literary award in India.

Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar

  • The Yuva Puraskar is conferred on eligible young writers for creative original works in all the 24 languages recognized by it.
  • Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar is the only Akademi award open for nominations by publishers and self-nominations by writers.

Sahitya Akademi Bal Sahitya Puraskar

  • In order to encourage people who create children’s literature need to be encouraged and promoted this award was instituted in 2010.
  • Sahitya Akademi Bal Sahitya Puraskar is conferred on outstanding and meritorious children’s books annually and in the 24 languages recognized by the Akademi.

Sahitya Akademi Bhasha Samman

  • It also gives special awards called Bhasha Samman to significant contribution to the languages not formally recognized by the Akademi as also for contribution to classical and medieval literature.

 

F) Clever Picks (Miscellaneous)

  1. Bollard Pull Tugs (PIB)
  • Third tug in the series, “Balraj” has been delivered to Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam. Tugs “Veeran” and “Balram” have been inducted in October 2021.
  • These tugs are capable of assisting large naval ships, including Aircraft Carrier and Submarines in berthing, un-berthing, turning and manoeuvering in confined waters and in harbour.
  • They also provide afloat firefighting cover/assistance to ships alongside/anchorage and have limited capability for Search and Rescue operations.

 

  1. Reading Campaign ‘Padhe Bharat’(PIB)
  • Union Education Ministry has launched 100 days Reading Campaign ‘Padhe Bharat’ on 1stJanuary, 2022 to improve learning levels of students.
  • Children studying in Balvatika to grade VIII will be part of this campaign.