Current Affairs Apr 8

India-Seychelles High Level Virtual Event

Why in News?

  • Prime Minister will take part in a high level virtual event with the President of the Republic of Seychelles to inaugurate a range of Indian projects in Seychelles.

The high level virtual event will feature the following:

A) Joint e-inauguration of the new Magistrates’ Court Building in Seychelles;

B) Handing over of a Fast Patrol Vessel to Seychelles Coast Guard;

C) Handing over of a 1 MW Solar Power Plant;

D) Inauguration of 10 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs).

  • The new Magistrates’ Court Building in the capital city Victoria, is India’s first major civil infrastructure project in Seychelles built with grant assistance.
  • Seychelles occupies a central place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ – ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’.
  • The inauguration of these key projects demonstrates India’s privileged and time-tested role as a reliable partner of Seychelles for meeting its infrastructural, developmental and security requirements and is a testimony to the deep and friendly ties between the people of India and Seychelles.




World Health Day

  • According to the WHO, health is central to human happiness and well-being. It also makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer and are more productive.
  • World Health Day 2021 celebrated every year on April 7 to recognize the widespread contributions of our medical faculty and the success of the World Health Organization.

World Health Day 2021: Theme

  • The theme for this year’s global health awareness day is Building a fairer, healthier world.




PLI Scheme for White Goods (Air Conditioners and LED Lights)

Why in News?

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for White Goods (Air Conditioners and LED Lights) with a budgetary outlay of Rs. 6,238 crore.


  • The prime objective of the PLI scheme is to make manufacturing in India globally competitive by removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale and ensuring efficiencies.
  • It is designed to create complete component ecosystem in India and make India an integral part of the global supply chains.
  • The scheme is expected to attract global investments, generate large scale employment opportunities and enhance exports substantially.
  • The PLI Scheme for White Goods shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for a period of five years to companies engaged in manufacturing of Air Conditioners and LED Lights.
  • The Scheme will be implemented as a pan India scheme and is not specific to any location, area or segment of population. A number of global and domestic companies, including a number of MSMEs are likely to benefit from the Scheme.




National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules

Why in News?

  • The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister , has approved the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy’s proposal for implementation of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme ‘National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV (Photo Voltic) Modules’ for achieving manufacturing capacity of Giga Watt (GW) scale in high efficiency solar PV modules with an outlay of Rs.4,500 crore.

Why needed?

  • Solar capacity addition presently depends largely upon imported solar PV cells and modules as the domestic manufacturing industry has limited operational capacities of solar PV cells and modules.
  • The National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules will reduce import dependence in a strategic sector like electricity.

The outcomes/ benefits expected from the scheme are as follows:

  • Additional 10,000 MW capacity of integrated solar PV manufacturing plants,
  • Direct investment of around Rs.17,200 crore in solar PV manufacturingprojects
  • Demand of Rs.17,500 crore over 5 years for ‘Balance of Materials’,
  • Direct employment of about 30,000 and Indirect employment of about1,20,000 persons,
  • Import substitution of around Rs.17,500 crore every year, and
  • Impetus to Research & Development to achieve higher efficiency in solar PV modules.




MoU between India and Japan

Why in News?

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, is apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), Dept of Space and Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere (RISH), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan for Academic and Research Cooperation and Exchange.


  • This MoU shall enable NARL and RISH to continue their cooperation in areas of atmospheric science and technology, collaborative scientific experiments/campaigns and related modelling studies utilising the research facilities of RISH and NARL, exchange of scientific materials, publications and information, joint research meetings and workshops, exchange of faculty members, students and researchers.
  • This MoU would lead to mutual utilization of facilities such as the Middle and Upper atmosphere (MU) radar in Shigaraki, Japan, the Equatorial Atmosphere Radar (EAR) in Kototabang, Indonesia and complementary instruments available from RISH, and the Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) radar and complementary instruments available at NARL.




 CSF & Sheep Pox Vaccine

Why in News?

  • The ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh transferred the Technology – CSF & Sheep Pox Vaccines to M/s Hester Biosciences through Agrinnovate India Limited.

Live Attenuated Indigenous CSF Cell Culture Vaccine (IVRI-CSF-BS)

  • The Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is an important disease of pigs that causes 100% mortality. In India, the disease is controlled by a lapinized CSF vaccine (Weybridge Strain, U.K.) produced by killing large numbers of rabbits.
  • To avoid this, the ICAR-IVRI earlier developed a Cell Culture CSF Vaccine using the Lapinized Vaccine Virus from foreign strain.
  • The Indigenous CSF Cell Culture Vaccine (IVRI-CSF-BS) developed by using an Indian field isolates has a huge export potential.
  • Due to its very high titre (1×109.5 TCID50 / ml), the Vaccine can produce a large number of doses (60 Lakhs approx.) easily from only one 75 cm² Tissue Culture Flask.
  • The high titre vaccine would be the most economical CSF Cell Culture Vaccine. The vaccine has been extensively tested for safety and potency. The vaccine has been found to induce protective immunity from day 14 of the Vaccination till 18 Months.

Indigenous Live Attenuated Sheep Pox Vaccine [SPPV Srin 38/00]

  • Sheep pox is a severe viral disease in sheep which is economically important in small ruminants. A live attenuated Sheep Pox Vaccine using indigenous strain was developed by the Institute for preventive vaccination in the sheep population.
  • The developed Vaccine uses indigenous Sheep Pox Virus Strain [SPPV Srin 38/00] and is adapted to grow in the Vero cell line which makes the Vaccine production to be easily scalable. The Vaccine is innocuous, safe, potent, and immunogenic [efficacious] for sheep aged more than six months of age. It protects the Vaccinated animals for a period of 40 months.




MadhuKranti Portal & ‘Honey Corners’

Why in News?

  • Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare launched “मधुक्रान्तिपोर्टल” and Honey Corners of NAFED in New Delhi.
  • MadhuKranti Portal is an initiative of National Bee Board (NBB), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare under National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM).
  • This portal is being developed for online registration to achieve traceability source of Honey and other beehive products on a digital platform.
  • The technical and banking partner for development of this digital platform is Indian Bank.

National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM)

  • Keeping in view the importance of beekeeping, a new Central Sector Scheme entitled National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) was approved by Government of India for Rs. 500.00 crores allotted under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Announcement for overall promotion and development of scientific beekeeping & to achieve the goal of “Sweet Revolution”.
  • NBHM is implemented through National Bee Board (NBB).
  • The scheme has three Mini Missions (MM-I, II & III) under which main thrust is given on awareness, capacity building/trainings, focus on women empowerment through beekeeping, setting up of requisite infrastructural facilities, viz.;
  • Integrated Beekeeping Development Centres (IBDCs), Honeybees Disease Diagnostic Labs, Setting up of/upgradation of Honey Testing labs, Beekeeping Equipment Manufacturing Units, Custom Hiring Centres, Api therapy Centres, Development of Quality Nucleus Stock Centres & Bee Breeders, etc., Digitization/online registration, etc. under MM-I,
  • Processing, value addition, market support, etc. under MM-II and
  • R&D under MM-III.




Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021

Why in News?

  • The President promulgated the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 on 4th April 2021.
  • The Cabinet had approved on 31st March 2021 the proposal to make amendments in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code), through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.


  • The amendments aims to provide an efficient alternative insolvency resolution framework for corporate persons classified as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) under the Code, for ensuring quicker, cost-effective and value maximising outcomes for all the stakeholders, in a manner which is least disruptive to the continuity of MSMEs businesses and which preserves jobs.
  • The initiative is based on a trust model and the amendments honour the honest MSME owners by trying to ensure that the resolution happens and the company remains with them.
  • It provides an efficient alternative insolvency resolution framework for corporate persons classified as MSMEs for timely, efficient & cost-effective resolution of distress thereby ensuring positive signal to debt market, employment preservation, ease of doing business and preservation of enterprise capital.
  • Other expected impact and benefits of the amendment in Code are lesser burden on Adjudicating Authority, assured continuity of business operations for corporate debtor (CD), less process costs & maximum assets realization for financial creditors (FC) and assurance of continued business relation with CD and rights protection for operational Creditors (OC).





Why in News?

  • INS Sarvekshak, a hydrographic survey ship, is on a deployment to Mauritius for undertaking joint hydrographic surveys along with their Mauritian counterparts.
  • During the deployment, training of Mauritian personnel on advanced hydrographic equipment and practices will also be undertaken.
  • The ship visited Port Louis, Mauritius and commenced the hydrographic survey of ‘Deep sea area off Port Louis’.

INS Sarvekshak

  • A specialised survey ship is fitted with state-of-the-art survey equipment like Deep Sea Multi-Beam Echo Sounder, Side Scan Sonars and a fully automated digital surveying and processing system. In addition, the ship carries an integral Chetak helicopter, which would be extensively deployed during the survey.
  • INS Sarvekshak has undertaken various foreign cooperation surveys over the last few years in Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya.




Tribal Health Collaborative ‘Anamaya’

Why in News?

  • To address the tribal health challenges in India, the Centre launched a first of its kind multi-stakeholder ‘Tribal Health Collaborative (THC)’ committed to ending preventable deaths in the tribal communities.
  • A multi-stakeholder initiative supported by Piramal Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF),‘Anameya’ will converge efforts of various Government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of India.
  • Starting with 50 tribal aspirational districts THC would help to accelerate TB activities and achieve India’s target of TB Elimination by 2025 through the launch of “Jan Andolan for TB” along with focus on addressing key determinants like alcohol dependence and under-nutrition in tribal areas.
  • In coordination with the ministries of tribal affairs, health, women and child development, Ayush and Niti Aayog, THC will converge efforts of various government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of India.
  • It is proposed to “establish 500 Primany Health Centres and 100 Community Health Centres and incorporating it in the state programme Implementation Plans over the next 2 years.”
  • It is also proposed to launch the Sickle Cell Disease plan in June. Besides plans for integration of 5000 tribal healers with the health system there are plans to establish a tele-medicine facility through 740 EMRS in the remotest tribal blocks.
  • Also setting up a ‘Tribal Health Cell’ which will work in close partnership with the ministries of health, Ayush and state governments to facilitate the strengthening of primary healthcare systems and invest in tribal health research.




Light it up

  • Bose-Einstein condensate is a state of matter that occurs at extremely low temperatures.
  • A new study has shown a previously unknown phase transition in the Bose-Einstein condensate.
  • “The overdamped phase scientist observed corresponds to a new state of the light field”.
  • The team writes that this can find applications in transmitting quantum-encrypted messages.




Ancient innovation

  • About 105 thousand years ago, humans lived in coastal southern Africa as well as in the Kalahari basin about 600 km inland.
  • A study on the collection of objects such as calcite crystals and ostrich eggshells from the Basin showed that the early humans who lived inland were as innovative as those who lived near the coast.
  • The authors write that the shells may have been used for water storage and the crystals found a role in rituals.




Face vs brain shape

  • By studying the various genes in our body, an international team has identified 76 overlapping genetic locations that shape both our face and our brain.
  • But the team writes that this overlap is almost completely unrelated to that individual’s behavioural-cognitive traits.
  • So it will be impossible to tell the risk of developing a neuropsychiatric disorder just by looking at a person’s face.




Cool physics

  • Using special laser techniques, researchers from the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) have successfully shown the cooling of antimatter.
  • With this technique, they can address long-standing mysteries like: How does antimatter respond to gravity? Can antimatter help us understand symmetries in physics?.
  • These answers may fundamentally alter our understanding of our Universe.




Film Certification Tribunal

Why in News?

  • Recently, the government by an ordinance abolished the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which heard appeals by filmmakers seeking certification for their films.
  • The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation And Conditions Of Service) Ordinance, 2021, which came into effect on April 4, amends the Cinematograph Act, 1952 by omitting some sections and replacing the word “Tribunal” with “High Court” in other sections.
  • In effect, filmmakers will now have to approach the High Court with appeals they would have earlier filed with the NCAT.

The Tribunal

  • FCAT was a statutory body constituted set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in 1983, under Section 5D of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
  • Its main job was to hear appeals filed under Section 5C of the Cinematograph Act, by applicants for certification aggrieved by the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
  • The tribunal was headed by a chairperson and had four other members, including a Secretary appointed by the Government of India to handle. The Tribunal was headquartered in New Delhi.

What it did

  • In India, all films must have a CBFC certificate if they are to be released theatrically, telecast on television, or displayed publicly in any way.
  • The CBFC — which consists of a Chairperson and 23 members, all appointed by the Government of India — certifies films under four categories:
  • U: Unrestricted public exhibition (Suitable for all age groups)
  • U/A: Parental guidance for children under age 12
  • A: Restricted to adults(Suitable for 18 years and above
  • S: Restricted to a specialised group of people, such as engineers, doctors or scientists.

What next

  • The abolition means filmmakers will now have to approach the High Court whenever they want to challenge a CBFC certification, or lack of it.





Net-Zero Goal

Why in news?

  • The US President’s Special Envoy on Climate, is currently on a three-day visit to India trying to rekindle a climate change partnership.
  • In its bid to reclaim the global climate leadership, the US is widely expected to commit itself to a net-zero emission target for 2050 at the summit.
  • Several other countries, including the UK and France, have already enacted laws promising to achieve a net-zero emission scenario by the middle of the century.
  • The European Union is working a similar Europe-wide law, while many other countries including Canada, South Korea, Japan and Germany have expressed their intention to commit themselves to a net-zero future.
  • Even China has promised to go net-zero by 2060.
  • India, the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the US and China, is the only major player holding out.

The net-zero goal

  • Net-zero, which is also referred to as carbon-neutrality, does not mean that a country would bring down its emissions to zero.
  • Rather, net-zero is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Absorption of the emissions can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests, while removal of gases from the atmosphere requires futuristic technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
  • This way, it is even possible for a country to have negative emissions, if the absorption and removal exceed the actual emissions.
  • A good example is Bhutan which is often described as carbon-negative because it absorbs more than it emits.
  • It is being argued that global carbon neutrality by 2050 is the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement target of keeping the planet’s temperature from rising beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial times.
  • Current policies and actions being taken to reduce emissions would not even be able to prevent a 3–4°C rise by the turn of the century.
  • Earlier, the discussions used to be on emission-reduction targets, for 2050 or 2070, for rich and developed countries, whose unregulated emissions over several decades are mainly responsible for global warming and consequent climate change. The net-zero formulation does not assign any emission reduction targets on any country.
  • Theoretically, a country can become carbon-neutral at its current level of emissions, or even by increasing its emissions, if it is able to absorb or remove more.
  • From the perspective of the developed world, it is a big relief, because now the burden is shared by everyone, and does not fall only on them.




‘Lab on Wheels’ programme

Why in News?

  • Delhi Education Minister inaugurated Delhi Technological University’s ‘Lab on Wheels’ programme.
  • It will have students of the university travelling in a bus across Delhi to teach government school students and underprivileged children.

‘Lab on Wheels’: What is the concept?

  • The idea is to impart education in the fields of Mathematics and Science to those students who come from marginalised and poor economic backgrounds, in order to pique their interests in these subjects while pursuing higher education.

What equipment will be present in the bus?

  • The ‘Lab on Wheels’ will comprise 16 computers, two televisions, one 3D printer, one laptop, cameras and one printer. It will be Wi-Fi enabled, with 100 per cent power back up and fully air-conditioned.

What all will be taught in the programme?

  • Since DTU is a technological university, the focus will be on Mathematics and Science. Some of the things that will be covered include basic computer training to students, regular classwork for Class 10 and 12 students, and 3D printing training.