Current Affairs Apr 2


Why in News?

  • Multinational Military Exercise SHANTIR OGROSHENA 2021 (Front Runner of the Peace) will be held at Bangladesh to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangladesh ‘Father of the Nation’ Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and mark glorious 50 years of liberation.
  • Indian Army contingent comprising of 30 personnel from The DOGRA Regiment will participate in the exercise along with contingent of Royal Bhutan Army, Sri Lankan Army and Bangladesh Army from 04 Apr to 12 Apr 2021.


  • The theme of the exercise is “Robust Peace Keeping Operations”.
  • Military observers from USA, UK, Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore will also be in attendance throughout the exercise.




51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Why in News?

  • Rajinikanth has been conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019.
  • Rajinikanth made his debut in 1975 with K Balachander’s Apoorva Ragangal and has completed over 45 years in Kollywood.


  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest honour in cinema, presented by the Directorate of Film Festivals for the recipient’s contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema.
  • The award, named after Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who is revered as the father of Indian cinema, was instituted in 1969. The recipient receives a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl and a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.




Labour Bureau launches two of the five all-India surveys

Why in News?

  • The Labour Bureau has recently been tasked with five major All India Surveys by the Government of India.
  • The five surveys are the All-India Survey of Migrant Workers, All-India Survey on Domestic Workers, All-India Survey on Employment generated in Transport Sector, All-India Survey of Employment Generated by Professionals and All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES).
  • These surveys have been developed and designed by Labour Bureau under the technical guidance of an expert group chaired by Prof S. P. Mukherjee and co-chaired by Dr Amitabh Kundu.

Each of the survey objectives are:

  • All-India Survey of Migrant Workers – To study the kind of employment related migration undertaken by workers, the details of working and living conditions faced by them and impact of COVID 19 on their world of work.
  • All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES) – The survey would provide the employment estimates for establishments employing 10 or more workers as well as those with employing 9 or less workers. This highly useful establishment based survey will provide crucial data on the changes in employment situation across the selected sectors on a quarterly basis.
  • All-India Survey on Domestic Workers – The survey will be instrumental in estimating the number of domestic workers in the country for the first time ever. Some additional specific objectives are to collect data on incidence and characteristics of households with domestic workers and the average number of domestic workers engaged by different types of households.
  • All-India Survey on Employment generated in Transport Sector Estimates for employment generated in the transportation sector in the country will be generated using this survey.
  • All-India Survey of Employment Generated by Professionals – The survey will help in the estimation of employment generated by professions such as lawyers, medical professionals, cost accountants and chartered accountants.




Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH&WC) Code, 2020

Why in News?

  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH&WC) Code, 2020 has been enacted after amalgamating of thirteen different labour legislations and to simplify the laws regulating the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions in establishments.
  • The Central Government has constituted Expert Committees comprising of industry and subject experts from both public and private sector across the country to review the existing rules and regulations on safety, health and working conditions standards, pertaining to factories, docks and construction work.

1-         The Factories Rules framed under The Factories Act, 1948

  • Reasons for review- The existing standards in form of rules and regulations pertaining to factories, docks and construction works have not been reviewed since their last notification in 1950, 1990 and 1998 respectively and hence there is a pressing need to update them to meet the current requirements due to technological progress and system improvements.

2-         Dock Workers (Safety, Health Welfare) Regulations 1990

  • Reasons for review- To incorporate the advancements and progress made in the field of OSH&WC.

3-         The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Eoyment and Conditions of Service) Central Rules, 1998mpl

  • Reasons for review- To meet global standards in OSH&WC.




Major Achievements in National Highways

  • Over the last 7 years, length of National Highways has gone up by 50% from 91,287 km (as of April 2014) to 1,37,625 km (as on 20 March 2021);
  • Total budgetary outlay increased by 5.5 times, from INR 33,414 Cr in Financial Year 2015 to INR 1,83,101 Cr in Financial Year 2022;
  • Sanctioned amount has increased by 126% in Financial Year 2021 over Financial Year 2020 despite Covid-19 related impact. Sanctioned length in kilometers has also increased by 9% in Financial Year 2021 over Financial Year 2020;
  • Average annual project award (annual average award length) during Financial Year 2015 to Financial Year 2021 has increased by 85% compared to FY10 to FY14.
  • Average annual construction (average annual construction length) during FY 2015 to FY 2021 has increased by 83% compared to FY2010 to FY2014.
  • Cumulative cost of ongoing project works has increased by 54% at the end of Financial Year 2021 compared toFinancial Year 2020 (as on March 31st).




Modifying Tiny Dots for Fabricating Optical Materials

Why in News?

  • Satyapriya Bhandari, from the Department of Chemistry, University of North Bengal, West Bengal, is fascinated by tiny nanoscale crystals which, when hit by ultraviolet light, emits light of multiple colours.
  • This recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty fellowship instituted by the Department of Science & Technology is using chemical reactions to modify the surface of these nanoscale crystals called quantum dots (QDs) for fabricating optical materials that can have sustainable applications in optical sensors, light-emitting usages, composites and fluorescent biological labels.


  • Chemically modifying the surface of QDs can be an innovative pathway to alter their optical features and making newer optical materials, which are useful for fabricating white light-emitting (WLE) materials, ratiometric sensors for detecting disease responsive molecules or environmental pollutants, photocatalysts (for H2 production) and imaging of cancerous cells.
  • Chemically modified QDs could be used for ratiometric tracing of in vitro pH, detection of amino acid and vitamin B12, developing advanced WLE materials that can emit day-bright light, capability to image cancerous cells and packaging of enzymes to enhance their activity.
  • In collaboration with IIT Guwahati, he established a dual emitting nanoprobe which can serve as a sensor for the detection of Hg2+ and Cu2+ ions.




 France-led naval exercise

Why in News?

  • India will join its Quad partners — Australia, Japan, and the United States — in the France-led joint naval exercise, La Pérouse, in the Bay of Bengal.
  • La Pérouse joint exercise, during which two French Navy ships will be joined by ships from India, Australia, Japan, and the U.S. for a concrete demonstration of multilateralism at sea and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Later this month, India and France will also hold the bilateral naval exercise, Varuna. The United Arab Emirates is likely to participate in it.




Gujarat Assembly passes ‘love jihad’ law

Why in News?

  • The Gujarat Assembly passed the Freedom of Religion Act, 2003 amendment Bill that seeks to penalise forcible or fraudulent religious conversion by marriage or “love jihad”, bringing in stringent provisions against forcible conversion through marriage or allurement.
  • The Bill has provisions for 3-10 years in jail and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh if the accused is found guilty.
  • The Bill amends a 2003 Act, and seeks to curb the “emerging trend in which women are lured to marriage for the purpose of religious conversion” as per its “statement of object.”
  • The Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, deals with religious conversion “through allurement, force or by misrepresentation or by any other fraudulent means”.
  • The amendment also defines “allurement” as promising “better lifestyle, divine blessings, or otherwise”.

As per Amended Law

  • As per the provisions of the Bill, “Forcible conversion by marriage or by getting a person married” shall invite imprisonment of 3-5 years and up to ₹2 lakh fine.
  • If the victim is a minor, a woman, a Dalit or tribal, then the offenders may be punished with a jail term of 4-7 years and a fine of not less than ₹3 lakh.
  • If any organisation is found violating the law, the person in-charge can be sentenced to between three years and 10 years in jail and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh can be imposed.
  • Additionally, marriages solemnised for the purpose of such conversion will be declared void and the burden of proof shall lie on the accused.
  • Parents, siblings or any other person related by blood, marriage or adoption to the victim can lodge the complaint and the offences shall be non-bailable.



Gradually Boost Crude Oil Output

  • The OPEC oil cartel and allied countries said that they have decided to gradually add back some 2 million barrels per barrel per day of oil production from May to July, moving cautiously in pace with the recovery of the global economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, and non-members, led by Russia, have been meeting monthly to determine production levels as they face a recovery in demand whose pace has been uncertain.
  • They face conflicting pressures. Raising production before the demand is there risks sending prices lower. But lower production levels deprive national budgets of money at a difficult time.




Joint Logistics Facility

Why in News?

  • As part of measures to boost tri-service integration and resource optimisation, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat operationalised the third joint logistics node (JLN) in Mumbai.


  • These JLNs will provide integrated logistics cover to the armed forces for their small arms ammunition, rations, fuel, general stores, civil hired transport, aviation clothing, spares and also engineering support in an effort to synergise their operational efforts.
  • The initiative would accrue advantages in terms of saving of manpower, economise utilisation of resources, besides financial savings.
  • The government sanction letter for the establishment of the JLNs in Mumbai, Guwahati and Port Blair was signed on October 12, 2020.
  • Subsequently, the JLNs in Guwahati and Tri-Services, Andaman and Nicobar Command, Port Blair, were operationalised on January 01, 2021.




Temperature differences in the respiratory tract

Why in News?

  • Natural temperature differences which exist in the upper and lower respiratory tract influence the replication of the novel coronavirus and the subsequent activation of the immune system, says a new study that may lead to the development of new therapeutics and preventive measures against COVID-19.
  • SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV are highly similar genetically, generate a homologous repertoire of viral proteins, and use the same receptor to infect human cells.
  • However, despite these similarities, there are also important differences between the two viruses.
  • While the 2002-03 pandemic virus is characterized by severe disease and inflammation in the lower respiratory tract, the scientists said SARS-CoV-2 preferentially replicates in the upper airways, including the nasal cavity and trachea.
  • People infected with the SARS virus were only contagious after the onset of symptoms, making it easier to identify and interrupt infection chains, while the novel coronavirus is efficiently transmitted from one individual to another before the signs of disease appear.
  • Scientist found that temperature plays an important role as SARS-CoV-2 preferred to replicate at temperatures typically found in the upper airways of about 33 degrees Celsius.
  • When the researchers created colder conditions, they found that the virus replicated faster than when infections were carried out at 37 degrees Celsius to mimic the lower lung environment.




ICMR study provides a new definition for SARS-CoV-2 re-infection

  • Two positive tests at an interval of at least 102 days with one interim negative test have been defined as SARS-CoV-2 re-infection for establishing surveillance systems, according to an ICMR study. But a confirmation of the re-infection will require a whole genome sequencing.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has considered the duration of 90 days between two positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA along with genomic evidence of re-infection as an investigative criterion to understand the phenomenon of reinfection.
  • Both CDC and European CDC suggested the use of genomic evidence for confirmation of reinfection, However, an epidemiological working definition will be more pragmatic and helpful to assess the magnitude of re-infection in most population and resource constrained settings.




Invasive species

Why in News?

  • Disease-carrying mosquitoes, crop-ravaging rodents, forest-eating insects and even the domestic cat are all “exotic” intruders whose cost to humanity and the environment is vast and growing, according to a study.
  • Researchers in France estimate that invasive species have cost nearly $1.3 trillion dollars to the global economy since 1970, an average of $26.8 billion per year. And they warn that this is likely an underestimate.
  • Scientists totted up the dizzying array of harmful effects from species carried between habitats, whether plants, insects, reptiles, birds, fish, molluscs, micro-organisms or mammals.
  • There is also sign of a steady upward trend since 1970.
  • A preliminary roundup of the top ten invasive pests includes crop-eating rats and the Asian gypsy moth, which is attacking trees throughout the northern hemisphere.
  • It also included the tiger mosquito, native to Southeast Asia, which has become one of the worst invasive species in the world, carrying diseases like chikungunya, dengue and zika.
  • There is also evidence of an “exponential increase in introduced species, due to growing international trade”.


  • It is a problem with a long history, linked to human trade, travel and colonialism.
  • In Australia, feral European rabbit populations were first reported in the early 1800s and their population exploded, reaching such proportions that they ravaged native species and caused billions of dollars of damage to crops.
  • In 1950, the government released the disease myxomatosis, which only affects rabbits, killing over 90% of the wild bunnies. But some have since built up immunity.
  • The brown tree snake has eaten nearly all of the native birds and lizards of Guam since it was accidentally introduced in the mid-twentieth century from its South Pacific habitat, as well as causing power outages by infiltrating electrical installations and menacing people in their homes.
  • In the 1980s and 90s the zebra mussel, which originated in the waterways of the former Soviet Union, invaded North America’s Great Lakes, blocking pipes, threatening native species and causing billions in damages.
  • On land, American forests — and more recently those in Europe — have been devastated by the Asian long-horned beetle.
  • While in Hawaii, the Puerto Rican coqui frog has found a new home with no natural predators — except local homeowners whose property values have tumbled thanks to its ear-splitting croak, which can reach 100 decibels.




  • The UN’s science advisory panel for biodiversity, called IPBES, has said invasive species are among the top five culprits — all human-driven — of environmental destruction worldwide, along with changes to land use, resource exploitation, pollution and climate change.
  • In 2019, IPBES estimated there had been a 70% increase in invasive species since 1970, in the 21 countries studied. And the worst could be to come.




Haryana’s amended Rules of Procedure, Conduct of Business of Legislative Assembly

Why in News?

  • Haryana has amended several provisions under its Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Legislative Assembly of the state.
  • Several new provisions have also been added in order to maintain the decorum of the House and to ensure that prompt action is taken on recommendations made by the committees constituted by the Speaker.

What are the new Rules in the amended provisions?

  • In Rule 76, a new provision has been added, according to which during every sitting of the House, presence of at least two ministers is a must, which was not maintained at times during discussion on certain Calling Attention Motions or other Business of the House. To maintain decorum of the House, another new provision has been added, according to which the members “shall not tear off documents in the House in protest”.
  • Also, another Sub-Rule 46(11) that deals with Questions asked by the Members during the sitting of the House has been substituted. The new Sub-Rule reads: “The question shall not contain more than 150 words in any case either typed or handwritten on one side of the page.”
  • Regarding Supplementary Questions, a new provision has been added that reads: “A supplementary question shall be held out of order by the Speaker if, in his opinion-

(i) It does not arise from the main Question or its answer;

(ii) Instead of seeking information, it gives information;

(iii) It seeks confirmation or denial of an opinion; and

(iv) It infringes any of the rule regarding question.

  • Provided that the Speaker shall allow not more than two supplementary questions to be asked on any question”.

What is the new definition of Leader of Opposition that the Rules has notified?

  • As per the new definition, Leader of Opposition means Leader of a Legislative Party having the largest number of members other than the party/parties that has formed the government and having the strength at least equal to the strength of the quorum of the House and recognised as such by the Speaker:
  • Provided that if more than one party has got equal number of members competing for recognition, the number of votes polled to the which has polled more number of votes in the Assembly elections, shall be recognised as the official opposition and its leader as the Leader of the Opposition:
  • Provided further that if the total number of votes polled to both the groups equal, then the Office of the Leader of the Opposition shall be held alternatively and the order in which they will hold Office shall be decided by draw of lots”.

What are the instructions issued to government departments?

  • After Rule 243, Rule 243(A) has been added that ensures timely action taken reports on the recommendations made by the Committees that comprise Members of the House and are constituted by the Speaker of Vidhan Sabha.

What is the amended Rule for protocol violation enquiry?

  • After the Rule 297 that deals with this subject, the Rule 297-A has been added, which reads: “Any violation of the Instructions of the State Government and Instructions issued by the Department of Personnel Training, Central Government adopted by the State or any direction of the Speaker issued from time to time on observance of protocol and courtesies in dealing with the Members of the House shall be taken up by the Committee of Privileges for examination and Report.”

What are the amended Rules pertaining to Ministers?

  • Rule 204 (1) deals with members of the Committee of the Assembly.
  • It says – (1) The members of a Committee of the Assembly shall be appointed by the Assembly on a motion made, or nominated by the Speaker, as the case may be.
  • Now, a proviso has been added under this Rule, which reads – “Provided that a Minister shall not be nominated as a member of the Committee except Business Advisory Committee and in case a member of the Committee is appointed as a Minister, he/she shall cease to be the member of the Committee from the date of such appointment.”





Why in News?

  • Russian scientists launched one of the world’s biggest underwater neutrino telescopes called the Baikal-GVD (Gigaton Volume Detector) in the waters of Lake Baikail, the world’s deepest lake situated in Siberia.
  • The construction of this telescope, which started in 2016, is motivated by the mission to study in detail the elusive fundamental particles called neutrinos and to possibly determine their sources.
  • Studying this will aid scientists’ understanding of the origins of the universe since some neutrinos were formed during the Big Bang, others continue to be formed as a result of supernova explosions or because of nuclear reactions in the Sun.
  • The Baikal-GVD is one of the three largest neutrino detectors in the world along with the IceCube at the South Pole and ANTARES in the Mediterranean Sea.

What are fundamental particles?

  • So far, the understanding is that the universe is made of some fundamental particles that are indivisible. Broadly, particles of matter that scientists know about as of now can be classified into quarks and leptons.
  • But this only applies to “normal matter” or the matter that scientists know that five per cent of the universe is made up of.
  • Not much is known about the remaining 95 per cent of the universe, which is classified by the authors into dark matter (27 percent) and the remaining 68 per cent of the universe of which scientists have “no idea” about yet.
  • Exploration in the field of physics so far has led to the discovery of over 12 such quarks and leptons, but three of these (protons, neutrons and electrons) is what everything in the world is made up of.
  • Protons (carry a positive charge) and neutrons (no charge) are types of quarks, whereas electrons (carry a negative charge) are types of leptons.
  • These three particles make what is referred to as the building block of life– the atom.
  • In different combinations, these particles can make different kinds of atoms, which in turn make up molecules that form everything– from a human being, to a wooden chair, a plastic plate, a mobile phone, a dog, a termite, a mountain, a planet, water, soil and so on.