31st January,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 31st January,2022

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

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint


  • A) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  • Exports of Marine Products (PIB)
  • Different Aspects ofSilk Production in India (PIB)
  • Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) scheme (TH, pg 15)
  • B) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations
  • National Commission for Women (NCW) (PIB)
  • World Inequality Report 2022(TH, pg 7)
  • Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) (IE)
  • C) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
  • Motion of Thanks on President’s Address (TH, pg 8)
  • D) International Relations
  • Nord Stream Pipeline (TH, pg 15)
  • E) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
  • Coronaviruses and its new variant NeoCoV (TH, pg 15)


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

  1. Exports of Marine Products (PIB)
  • Context:Exports of Marine Products registered a growth of 35% during April-December 2021 (Provisional) as compared to the same period in the year 2020.


  • Top 5 export destinations in April-November 2021 (latest available, share% in bracket) are: USA (44.5%), China (15.3%), Japan (6.2%), Vietnam (4%) & Thailand (3%).
  • Frozen shrimps constitute the major share in India’s Marine Products exports items with 74% share in value terms (USD).
  • Several exports promotion schemes for Fisheries have been implemented by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), a statutory body set up in 1972 under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry for promotion of export of marine products from India.


  1. Different Aspects of Silk Production in India (PIB)
  • Context: The images of the rhinoceros are also seen in the Moongaand Eri dresses woven on the world-famous handlooms of Assam.


  • Though silk was first used in China as long ago as 3500 BC, India is a major sericulture country in the world, being the homeland of all the four varieties of natural silks: Mulberry, Tasar (including Oak tasar), Eri and Muga, of which Muga with its golden yellow glitter is unique and prerogative of India.
  • India is the second-largest producer of raw silk in the world after China.
  • Among the four varieties of silk produced in 2020-21, Mulberry accounted for 70.72%of the total raw silk production, followed by Eri, Tasar and Muga (in decreasing order).
  • North East has the unique distinction of being the only region producing four varieties of silk viz., Mulberry, Oak Tasar, Muga and Eri. Overall NE region contributes 18% of India’s total silk production.
  • Unlike seasonal crops, sericulture can be done round the year and harvested as many as 5–6 times a year.

Tasar Silk

  • Tropical tasar silkworm is reared by the tribal inhabitants of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal states, while the temperate tasar silkworm feeds on oak plants in the North Eastern sub-Himalayan states of India.

Muga Silk

  • Mugasilkmoth is exclusively found only in Assam, and is known for its unique valuable golden coloured silk fibre.
  • The non-mulberry silks are called “vanya silks”.

Mulberry Silk

  • Mulberry sericulture dominates, with a share of 89 per cent in production, and 95 per cent in exports.
  • Ninety-eight per cent of mulberry silk is produced in the states of Karnataka (the largest producer), Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Also known as the pride of Assam, the Muga/Moonga is produced by the Antheraea Assama caterpillar. Its beautiful golden hue lends itself for artistic weaving.
  • Notably, in Assam, sericulture is dominated by mulberry (pat) silk, which is white; the golden Moonga; and the warm but coarse Eri. It accounts for the country’s entire production of Moonga silk and 98 per cent of Eri silk.
  • In Assam, Moonga is worn by women in the form of Mekhla, a concert of three pieces of cloth– a skirt like a sarong, a blouse and an additional piece of cloth draped over the shoulder. It is the intrinsic shine that makes it different from Pat and Eri, other silk fabric produced in the state.

Eri Silk

  • This silk is obtained without killing the silkworm, because of which it is known as the Ahimsa silk or the Peace silk.
  • This is one of the primary reasons that the Buddhist monks of India, China, Nepal, and Japan prefer this silk of non-violent origin over any other fabric.

Geographical Indications of Indian silk

  • Baluchari Saree – West Bengal
  • Salem Silk – Tamil Nadu
  • Arani Silk – Tamil Nadu
  • Kancheepuram Silk – Tamil Nadu
  • Molakalmuru Sarees – Karnataka
  • Ilkal Sarees – Karnataka
  • Muga Silk – Assam
  • Orissa Ikat – Odisha
  • Chanderi Fabric – Madya Pradesh


  1. Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) scheme (TH, pg 15)
  • Context: The Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) has invited applications from 100 domestic companies, startups and small and medium enterprises to become a part of the design-linked incentive (DLI) scheme.
  • Along with it the IT ministry has sought proposals from academia, start-ups and MSMEs to train 85,000 qualified engineers on semiconductor design and manufacturing.


Reasons behind this Scheme

  • The sudden surge in demand of chips and semiconductor components manufactured by only a few countries has underpinned the need to establish a robust semiconductor ecosystem in India.

What are the challenges in making semiconductors in India?

  • In India, more than 90% of global companies already have their R&D and design centres for semiconductors but never established their fabrication units.
  • Setting up fabs is capital intensive and needs investment in the range of $5 billion to $10 billion.
  • Some chip fabrication technologies to be adopted (Sub 5 nano technology) needs government clearance as they fall under licensing category.
  • Lack of investments and supportive government policies are some of the challenges to set up fabs in India.

What is the DLI scheme?

  • The DLI scheme aims to provide financial and infrastructural support to existing and global players for setting up fabs or semiconductor making plants in India.
  • It aims to nurture at least 20 domestic companies involved in semiconductor design and facilitate them to achieve turnover of more than Rs 1500 crore in the next five years.
  • Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), a scientific society operating under MeitY, will serve as the nodal agency for implementation of the DLI scheme.
  • The scheme has three components – Chip Design infrastructure support, Product Design Linked Incentive and Deployment Linked Incentive.

Do you know?

  • Currently, semiconductor manufacturing is dominated by companies in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel and the Netherlands.
  • Chips are manufactured largely in Taiwan and South Korea.


B) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations

  1. National Commission for Women (NCW) (PIB)
  • Context:30thNational Commission for Women (NCW) Foundation Day on 31st January, 2022.


  • The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to:
  • review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women;
  • recommend remedial legislative measures;
  • facilitate redressal of grievances and
  • advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
  • The Commission shall consist of:
  • A Chairperson, committed to the cause of women, to be nominated by the Central Government.
  • Five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organisations (including women activist), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare;
  • Provided that at least one Member each shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively;

The Mandate of the Commission

  • The commission shall perform, among others, all or any of the following functions, namely:
  • present to the Central Government, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguard,
  • fund litigation involving issues affecting a large body of women,
  • The Central Government shall cause all the reports of the Commission to be laid before each House of Parliament along with memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any such recommendations.
  • The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to it have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and, in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:
  • summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath,
  • requiring the discovery and production of any document,
  • receiving evidence on affidavits,
  • requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office,
  • issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents, etc.
  • In keeping with its mandate, the Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment during the year under report.
  • The Commission prepared Gender Profiles to assess the status of women and their empowerment.
  • It received a large number of complaints and acted suo-moto in several cases to provide speedy justice.
  • It took up the issue of child marriage, sponsored legal awareness programmes etc.
  1. World Inequality Report 2022(TH, pg 7)
  • Context:The World Inequality Report 2022 by the World Inequality Lab. says India is now among the most unequal countries in the world.


  • Inequality today is as great as it was at the peak of western imperialism in the early 20th century. The pandemic has exacerbated it.
  • The decline in corporate tax rates reduced government revenue at a time of growing public deficit and declining public wealth. It erodes the progressive nature of the tax system.
  • High-income individuals choose to incorporate their business so that they can shift income from personal income tax to corporate tax.
  • There is also the recent phenomenon of wealthy families of promoters of big corporate houses creating a succession plan through private trusts. The time has come for the re-introduction of estate duty in India.

Global Minimum Tax

  • The Government of India has to prepare for the introduction of the global minimum tax on MNCs, as agreed to by 130 countries in July 2021. The rate then fixed was 15%.
  • The World Inequality Report suggested a minimum global tax on MNCs at 25%.
  • Inflation indexing has long been suggested as a way out to sort out the difficulties of the fixed income group.
  • Inequality varies significantly between the most equal region (Europe) and the most unequal (Middle East and North Africa i.e., MENA).
  • While inequality has increased within most countries, over the past two decades, global inequalities between countries have declined.
  • The gap between the average incomes of the richest 10% of countries and the average incomes of the poorest 50% of countries dropped from around 50x to a little less than 40x.
  • At the same time, inequalities increased significantly within countries. One way to understand these inequalities is to focus on the gap between the net wealth of   governments   and   net   wealth of the private sector. Over the past 40 years, countries have become significantly richer, but their governments have become significantly poorer.
  • The World Inequality Report 2022 provides the first estimates of the gender inequality in global earnings. Overall, women’s share of total incomes from work (labor income) neared 30% in 1990 and stands at less than 35% today.
  • Global income and wealth inequalities are tightly connected to ecological inequalities and to inequalities in contributions to climate change.
  • It observed that the deregulation and liberalisation policies implemented since the mid-1980s have led to “one of the most extreme increases in income and wealth inequality observed in the world”.
  • It also said gender inequalities in India are very high.The female labour income share is equal to 18%. This is significantly lower than the average in Asia [21%, excluding China],” the report said, adding that this value is one of the lowest in the world, slightly higher than the average share in Middle East (15%).
  • The world map of inequalities reveals that national average income levels are poor predictors of inequality — among high-income countries, some are very unequal (such as the U.S.), while other are relatively equal (Sweden).


  1. Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) (IE)
  • Context:The government has appointed Venkatraman AnanthaNageswaran as its chief economic advisor (CEA) days before the tabling of the 2021-22 Economic Survey (on January 31) and the presentation of the 2022-23 Union Budget (on February 1).
  • The Economic Survey report is usually prepared by the Chief Economic Advisor, but this year, it was done by the principal economic advisor and other officials as the post remained vacant.


  • Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) is a post under Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
  • Economic Survey of Indiapreceding the Union Budget every year is released by Chief Economic Advisor.
  • Note: Chief Economic Adviser and Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA) are different.

Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA)

  • It is an attached office of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • The main functions of the Office of Economic Adviser include, inter alia, the following:
  • Policy Functions
  • 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.
  • 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.


C) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

  1. Motion of Thanks on President’s Address (TH, pg 8)
  • Context:The TRS has decided to boycott President Ramnath Kovind’s motion of thanks address to the joint session of Parliament at the commencement of its Budget session in protest against the indifference of the Centre to fulfill its promises to the State in bifurcation law.
  • Soon after the President’s Address, both Houses will take up a discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the address.


  • Article 87 of the constitution provides two instances when the President specially addresses both Houses of Parliamentassembled together.
  • At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year (Budget Session).
  • No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both the Houses of Parliament assembled together.
  • This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
    • If at the time of commencement of the first session of the year, Lok Sabha is not in existence and has been dissolved, and Rajya Sabha has to meet, Rajya Sabha can have its session without the President’s Address.
    • In the case of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together after the members have made and subscribed the oath or affirmation and the Speaker has been elected.
  • The provision for Address by the Head of State to Parliament goes back to the year 1921 when the Central Legislature was set up for the first time under the Government of India Act, 1919.
  • Originally, the Constitution required the President to address both Houses of Parliament at the commencement of “every session”.
  • This requirement was changed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
  • When a session of Lok Sabha is not prorogued after being adjourned sine-die and subsequently re-convened to meet in the next calendar year, the President, in such cases, is not required to address both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
  • The President reads the Address either in English or in Hindi.
  • After the conclusion of the Address, there is a roll of drums followed by the National Anthem.
  • President’s address is drafted by the Cabinet, and provides a broad framework of the government’s agenda and direction.
  • In this address,the President outlines the policies and programmes of thegovernment in the preceding year and ensuing year.
  • It also indicates the main items of legislative business which are proposed to be brought during the session to be held in that year.
  • This address of the President, which corresponds to the ‘speech from the Throne in Britain’, is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion called the ‘Motion of Thanks’.
  • The scope of discussion on the Address is very wide and the members are free to speak on all sorts of national or international problems.
  • Even matters which are not specifically mentioned in the Address are brought into discussion through amendments to Motion of Thanks.
  • The only limitations are that members cannot refer to matters which are not the direct responsibility of the Central Government and that the name of the President cannot be brought in during the debate since the Government and not the President is responsible for the contents of the Address.

Amendments to Motion of Thanks on President’s Address

  • Amendments may refer to matters contained in the Address as well as to matters which, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention.
  • If any of the amendments is accepted then the Motion of Thanks is adopted in the amended form.
  • There have been only three instances so far, when the Motion of Thanks was adopted by Rajya Sabha with amendments.
  • At the end of thediscussion, the motion is put to vote. This motion must be passed in the House.Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government. (It is like a no confidence motion, so it needs simple majority to get passed in the House).
  • This inaugural speech of the President is anoccasion available to the members of Parliament to raisediscussions and debates to examine and criticise the governmentand administration for its lapses and failures.

Do you know?

  • Since the commencement of the Constitution, there has not been any occasion when the President has addressed either House or both Houses assembled together, under the provision of the Article 86(1).
    • Article 86(1) of the Constitution provides that the President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members.
  • All executive power is vested in the President of India.
  • The Council of Ministers is headed by the Prime Minister aids and advises the President who exercises his powers in accordance to such advice.
  • The Rajya Sabha Secretariat records one instance, in 2004, of the first session of the year not commencing with the President’s Address.


D) International Relations

  1. Nord Stream Pipeline (TH, pg 15)
  • Context: The Nord Stream pipeline is back in the news following the renewed tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine.
  • Nord Stream, the longest subsea pipeline, is an export gas pipeline which runs under the Baltic Sea carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe.


What is the Nord Stream Pipeline?

  • Nordstream consists of two pipelines, which have two lines each. Nord Stream 1 was completed in 2011 and runs from Vyborg in Leningrad to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany.
  • Nord Stream 2 runs from Ust-Luga in Russia to Lubmin in Germany was completed in September 2021.

What are the objections to the pipeline?

  • Environmentalists argue that it does not fit in with German efforts to cut dependence on fossil fuels and fight climate change.
  • The strategic objection, particularly from the U.S., is that it will make Europe too dependent on Russia, increasing Russia’s influence in Europe. Moreover, there is concern that Russia could use it as a geopolitical weapon.
  • Ukraine has objected because it will lose around $2 billion in transit fees once the pipeline becomes operational.
  • Countries like Poland and Belarus also stand to lose transit fees and hence oppose the pipeline as it will bypass existing pipelines running through them.
  • Moreover, so long as Russian gas transits through Ukraine, Russia is unlikely to intervene and cause instability in Ukraine and Europe will stay invested in its security.
  • In light of the tensions over Ukraine, the U.S. has said it will stop the Nord Stream if Russia attacks Ukraine.
  • But European countries, led by Germany, seemed reluctant initially to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream though it has now said sanctions are not off the table. This reluctance stems from the pipeline’s importance to Europe.

Why is it important for Europe and Russia?

  • Around 40% of the of natural gas which Europe requires each year comes from Russia.
  • Over the last few years, Europe has become more dependent on gas imports because of a decrease in domestic gas production.
  • Reducing dependence on Russian gas is difficult as there are no easy replacements.
  • There is no infrastructure to import LNG from exporters like Qatar and the U.S. and there are question marks over the desirability of shipping gas.
  • Moreover, Germany’s transition to cleaner fuels by phasing out nuclear power and cutting reliance on coal has increased its dependence on Russian gas as gas is seen as a cleaner fuel.
  • Many European businesses have large investments in Nord Stream 2 and there is pressure on governments from these businesses.
  • Finally, a reduction in gas from Russia would increase already high gas prices and that would not be popular domestically.
  • As for Russia, which has the largest natural gas reserves in the world, around 40% of its budget comes from sales of gas and oil.
  • The Nord Stream 2 is being used as a bargaining chip by the West to force Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine.

Baltic Sea

  • Baltic Sea is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean, and separates the Scandinavian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe.
  • The largest expanse of brackish water in the world, the semi-enclosed and relatively shallow Baltic Sea is of great interest to scientists.
  • Although the great influx of river water and surface runoff, including spring snowmelt, causes an outflow of surface water into the North Sea, a deeper countercurrent of denser salt water flows into the Baltic.
  • The nine countries bounding the Baltic are Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany.
  • The Vistula and the Oder are among the major rivers which drain their water into the Baltic Sea.


E) Science and Technology, Defence, Space

  1. Coronaviruses and its new variant NeoCoV (TH, pg 15)
  • Context: Scientists have cautioned that NeoCoV coronavirus found in bats may pose threat to humans in future.


  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to infect animals and humans.
  • They are largely categorised into four genera — alpha, beta, gamma and delta.
  • Broadly speaking, alpha and beta coronaviruses commonly infect mammals such as bats and humans, while gamma and delta mainly infect birds.
  • It is possible for viruses that infect animals to jump to humans, a process which is known as zoonotic spillover.
  • Many major infectious diseases, including COVID-19, is widely thought to be a result of spillover.
  • SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, belongs to the genus of beta coronavirus and is in fact the 7th type of coronavirus known to infect and cause severe disease in humans.
  • Other six human coronaviruses identified previously includes:
  • OC43
  • HKU1
  • 229E
  • NL63 (Caused mild and seasonal infections in humans)
  • SARS-CoV (Caused severe disease in humans)
  • MERS-CoV (Caused severe disease in humans)
  • Identified in 2012, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was transferred to humans through infected dromedary camels through zoonosis. Since its identification, MERS-CoV has infected over 2000 people, specifically in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Transmission to Humans

  • How a coronavirus latches onto special receptors on host cells depends on a key part of the virus known as its receptor-binding domain.
  • The differences in the receptor-binding domain of coronaviruses are therefore what determine the type of host receptor the virus will use and thus the host that it will be able to infect.
  • There are currently 4 well-characterised receptors for coronaviruses,
  • ACE2, which is used by SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2
  • DPP4 used by MERS-CoV.
  • Neu5 used by OC43
  • 9Ac2 used by 229E

What is NeoCoV?

  • NeoCoV is a bat coronavirus that was first identified in 2011.
  • Commonly known as aloe bats, this species is distributed in the Afro-Malagasy region.
  • NeoCoV shares an 85% similarity to MERS-CoV in the genome sequence, making it the closest known relative of MERS-CoV.
  • NeoCoV cannot interact with human receptors, implying that in its current form the virus cannot infect humans. NeoCoV does not infect humans yet and has thus not caused any deaths.

Effects on Health

  • Coronaviruses typically affect the respiratory system, but they can affect other systems in the human body.
  • Coronaviruses are present in many species, including camels and bats.
  • A person might have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms if they are older, have a weakened immune system, or have another health condition.

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