Daily Current Affairs

30TH DECEMBER,2020 : MOST POWERFUL DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS CONCEPTS

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UPSC PRELIMS+MAINS 

Index

  1. A) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
  2. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) (PIB)
  3. B) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  4. Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana (PIB) 
  5. C) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations
  6. Reporters Without Borders (TH)
  7. D) Miscellaneous
  8. Mission Sagar-III (PIB)
  9. Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) (PIB)
  10. Digital Ocean (PIB)
  11. Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) (TH)
  12. What is ‘China plus one’ model? (TH)
  13. People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India (2003) (TH)

A) Science and Technology, Defence, Space

  1. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) (PIB)

  • Context: The Vice President recently inaugurated a large segment polishing facility for mirrors for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Analysis

  • India joined the international consortium of research organizations and Science institutes in five countries: India, Japan, China, Canada, USA to build and operate the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the largest ground-based astronomy project in the northern hemisphere.
  • India is a 10% partner in the multi-billion US dollar (~USD 3B) project proposed to be sited on top of the Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The project is expected to be completed in the early 2030s.
  • The “Thirty Meter” in TMT refers to the 30-meter diameter of the main mirror or the primary mirror.
  • Since making a single 30-m glass blank for astronomy is not possible, it comprises 492 segments of 1.45-m each.
  • The complex project involves making all the 492 segments to act as one single mirror of 30-m diameter while the telescope is tracking the sky with extreme precision.
  • India’s contribution relates to the software, electronics and hardware to control the 492 segments behave as a single mirror within a few nanometers.

Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) was comprehensively covered in 11th Nov file

B) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues

2.Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana (PIB) 

  • In a bid to provide affordable life insurance services to people, particularly those living in rural areas of the country, the Department of Posts (DoP), Ministry of Communications, has launched Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana.
  • Under the Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana, at least one village (having a minimum of 100 households) will be identified in each of the revenue districts of the country, wherein endeavour will be made to cover all households of that identified village with a minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy each.
  • Coverage of all households in the identified Sampoorna Bima Gram village is the primary objective of this scheme.
  • DARPAN or “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Offices for a New India” is also a scheme of the Department of Posts (DoP), Ministry of Communications.

C) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations

3.Reporters Without Borders (TH)

  • Context: Fifty journalists and media workers were killed in connection with their work in 2020, the majority in countries that are not at war, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
  • The figure shows an increase in the targeting of reporters investigating organised crime, corruption.

Analysis

Reporters Without Borders

  • Reporters Without Borders, in French Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), is an international organization founded in France in 1985 to advocate for press freedom worldwide.
  • It has received numerous awards for its work, including the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2005.
  • The organization is headquartered in Paris.
  • With a presence on five continents, RSF defends:
  • imprisoned or persecuted journalists and media personnel;
  • exposes mistreatment and torture of journalists;
  • provides financial aid for struggling media personnel or companies (as well as for the families of imprisoned journalists); and
  • promotes journalists’ safety, particularly in war zones.
  • After obtaining evidence of a transgression, RSF pressures governments through publicity campaigns and protest letters.

World Press Freedom Index

  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF) publishes the World Press Freedom Index each year since 2002
  • It measures the level of freedom available to journalists and not the quality of journalism.
  • The degree of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries is determined by pooling the responses of experts to a questionnaire devised by RSF
  • The criteria evaluated in the questionnaire are: Pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.

World Press Freedom Index 2020

  • India has dropped two places on a global press freedom index to be ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the annual Reporters Without Borders analysis released in May 2020.
  • ‘The World Press Freedom Index 2020’ said that with no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as against six in 2018, the security situation for the country’s media might seem, on the face of it, to have improved.
  • It attributed the decline in index to “pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government’s line”.
  • South Asia in general features poorly on the index, with Pakistan dropping three places to 145, and Bangladesh dropping one place to 151.
  • Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fourth year running. China at 177th position is just three places above North Korea, which is at 180th.

World Press Freedom Prize

  • The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was created in 1997.
  • Each year it honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.
  • The Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper.
  • World Press Freedom Day – May 3rd.

D) Miscellaneous

4.Mission Sagar-III (PIB)

  • Mission Sagar-III is part of India’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries during the ongoing pandemic.
  • This Mission is being undertaken in accordance with Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and reiterates India’s position as a dependable partner, and the Indian Navy as the Preferred Security Partner and First Responder.
  1. Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) (PIB)

  • Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has been nominated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation(GAVI) as a member on the GAVI Board.
  • The GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) is a global health partnership of public and private sector organizations dedicated to “immunization for all”.
  • GAVI model encourages manufacturers to lower vaccine prices for the poorest countries in return for long-term, high-volume and predictable demand from those countries.
  1. Digital Ocean (PIB)

  • Union Minister for Science and Technology launched theDigital Ocean’ platform of Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information Services (INCOIS) as a one-stop-solution for all data related needs of a wide range of users, including research institutions, operational agencies, strategic users, the academic community, maritime industry, and the public.
  • INCOIS provides ocean information and advisory services to various stakeholders in the country, including Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, Ocean State Forecast (OSF), high wave alerts, tsunami early warnings, storm surge and oil-spill advisories, among others, using state-of-the-art technologies and tools to get real time information on oceanographic and marine meteorological data.
  • The institute has been serving as the National Argo Data Centre and Regional Argo Data Centre of the International Argo Programme.
  1. Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) (TH)

  • Greater weaponisation of trade and technology is here to stay. It is in this context that India, Japan and Australia initiated the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) in September this year, focusing on automobiles and parts, petroleum, steel, textiles, financial services and IT sectors.
  1. What is the ‘China plus one’ model? (TH)

  • China’s cheap land and labor, huge market, and preferential investment policies have long served as the driving force behind foreign investments in the country. However, China is gradually losing its cost advantage and competitiveness in comparison to other Asian countries.
  • As a result, many companies in China are looking to diversify their operations by adding another location in Asia. This strategy is known as the ‘China plus one’ model. The strategy is most applicable to manufacturers and traders, and is most commonly associated with Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
  1. People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India (2003) (TH)

  • In People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India (2003), the Supreme Court held that the freedom of speech and expression also contained the fundamental right of a voter to secure information about the candidates who are contesting the election.
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