World Milk Day
- World Milk Day is being celebrated annually on 1st June, since 2001.
- The day was introduced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
- This year, the theme for Milk Day will focus on ‘sustainability in the dairy sector’.
- In the last few years, India has also become one of the largest producers of milk in the world with over 150 million tonnes of production and per capita availability of over 300 grams per day.
History of World Milk Day
- In 2001, World Milk Day was introduced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food, and to celebrate the dairy sector, every year on 1 June.
India’s Milk Production in Stats
- Per capita availability in 1991 in India: 178 gm/day
- Per capita availability in 2018 in India: 394 gm/day
- Per capita availability in 2018 in the world: 302 gm/day
- Milk production in 1991 in India: 55.6 million tonnes
- Milk production in 2018 in India: 187.7 million tonnes
- Milk production growth during 1991-2018 in India: 4% CAGR
RDSO becomes the FIRST Institution to be declared SDO
Why in News?
- RDSO (Research Design & Standards Organization) of Indian Railways has become the FIRST Institution to be declared Standard Developing Organization (SDO) under “One Nation One Standard” mission on BIS ( Bureau of Indian Standards) which is Institution under Department of Consumer Affairs.
- To attain “ Nation One Standard” vision of Govt. of India, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the National Standards Body, has launched a scheme which provides for “Recognition of SDO”.
- Research Designs & Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow, which is the sole R&D Wing of Ministry of Railways, is one of India’s leading Standard formulating Body undertaking standardization work for railway sector.
- The recognition is valid for 3 years and will require renewal after completion of the validity period.
- Some of the major benefits that will flow out of this recognition by Bureau of Indian Standards, under the BIS SDO Recognition Scheme, include
- Larger participation of Industry / Vendors / MSME’s / Technology Developers in IR Supply Chain, Increased competitiveness amongst Industry / Vendors,
- Reduction in Cost, Quantum improvement in Quality of Product & Services, Smooth Induction of latest evolving & emerging technologies on IR,
- Reduced dependence on imports, Thrust on “Make-in-India”, Improvement in Ease-of-Doing-Business, Recognition of RDSO on International Standards Making Bodies and Integration with Global Supply Chain / Global Trade.
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARMY EDUCATIONAL CORPS
- Indian Army celebrated the 100th anniversary of the raising of Army Educational Corps (AEC) on 01 June 2021.
- History of the AEC dates back to 1921 when the mass scale of illiteracy amongst the Indian soldiers were prevalent.
- The Army Education Corps of India is a program run by the Indian Army that develops soldiers and officers of all ranks in a variety of disciplines.
- The centre provides education in both combat and non-combat operations.
- The Corps’ facilities are located in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh state.
International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)
Why in News?
- International Financial Services Centres Authority constituted a Committee of Experts (‘the Committee’) to examine the feasibility of the Variable Capital Company (‘VCC’) in India to examine the suitability of the Variable Capital Company as a vehicle for fund management in the International Financial Services Centre in India.
- K.P. Krishnan headed expert committee on Variable Capital Company has submitted its report.
Aim of the Committee
- The IFSCA set up this Committee to explore the potential for allowing another legal structure – popularly known as a variable capital company (VCC) – as an additional option through which asset managers could pool the investors’ funds.
- The VCC structure dispenses with some of the key limitations of companies and LLPs and provides for higher regulatory standards than those applicable to trusts.
- Conventionally, pooling of funds in India is undertaken through three types of entities, namely, limited liability companies governed under the Companies Act, 2013; limited liability partnerships under the Limited Liability Partnership Act; and trusts governed under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
- The Committee assessed the features of a VCC or its equivalent, in other jurisdictions such as the UK, Singapore, Ireland and Luxembourg.
- The Committee recommended the adoption of a VCC-like legal structure for the purpose of conducting fund management activity in IFSCs
- The Committee recognized that the legal framework governing entities that undertake fund management should provide for certainty and clarity to investors,
- effective segregation and ring fencing of different pools of asset,
- the ability to issue different classes of shares, alterations to the funds’ capital structure without regulatory approvals and
- the freedom to choose the appropriate accounting standards applicable to funds with different characteristics, the ability to wind up quickly.
Renewal of Registration Certificate (RC)
Why in News?
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a draft notification dated 27th May 2021, further to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 proposing to exempt Battery Operated Vehicles (BOV) from payment of fees for the purpose of issue or renewal of Registration Certificate (RC) and assignment of new registration mark.
- This has been notified to encourage e- mobility.
Centre amends pension rules
Why in News?
- Centre amended the Pension Rules for Civil Servants, prohibiting retired officials in intelligence or security related organisations to publish any information related to their organisation without clearance from the competent authority.
- The retired officials will have to sign an undertaking to the effect and pension could be withheld or withdrawn for failure to comply with the rules.
- The amended rule says that “No government servant, who, having worked in any Intelligence or Security-related organisation included in the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act., 2005 (22 of 2005), shall, without prior clearance from Competent Authority” shall not publish in any manner, while in service or after retirement, any information or material or knowledge which is related to the domain of the organisation and obtained by virtue of working in the said organisation.
- The rules called the Central Civil Services (Pension) Amendment Rules, 2020 and amend rule 8 (3A) pertaining to “pension subject to future good conduct.”
A space fridge to keep astronauts’ food fresh
Why in News?
- A team of researchers is building a refrigerator that can keep food cold on longer missions in space, at zero gravity. It is aimed at giving astronauts a supply of food that could last five to six years.
- In a project funded by NASA, a team of engineers from Purdue University, Air Squared, and Whirlpool are building a prototype that can operate just as well in outer space as it does on Earth.
- The refrigerator can operate in different orientations, even upside down, an important capability for the variable gravity of lunar and planetary missions.
- Team found that the fridge could operate in microgravity without any liquid flooding.
- The oil-free vapor-compressor inside the fridge removes concerns about oil not flowing where it should in zero gravity.
- Astronauts have been going to space since 1961, but they still don’t have a refrigerator like this, and have to eat canned and dried food that have only three years of shelf life.
WHO approves China’s Sinovac
Why in News?
- The World Health Organization approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second Chinese vaccine to receive the WHO’s green light.
- The move gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities “assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”.
- Last month Sinopharm became the first Chinese vaccine to be approved by the WHO.
- The organisation has also given emergency use listing to vaccines being made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the AstraZeneca jab being produced in India, South Korea and the EU, which it counts separately.
- WHO’s listing paves the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve and import a vaccine for distribution, especially those states without an international-standard regulator of their own.
- It also opens the door for the jabs to enter the Covax global vaccine-sharing scheme, which aims to provide equitable access to doses around the world, particularly in poorer countries.
- Apart from China, the countries using Sinovac include Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.
Global heat deaths
Why in News?
- More than one-third of the world’s heat deaths each year are due directly to global warming, according to the latest study to calculate the human cost of climate change.
- But scientists say that’s only a sliver of climate’s overall toll — even more people die from other extreme weather amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought — and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures.
- Researchers looked at heat deaths in 732 cities around the globe from 1991 to 2018 calculated that 37% were caused by higher temperatures from human-caused warming.
- The highest percentages of heat deaths caused by climate change were in cities in South America.
- Southern Europe and southern Asia as other hot spots for climate change-related heat deaths. Sao Paulo, Brazil, has the most climate-related heat deaths, averaging 239 a year.
- About 35% of heat deaths in the United States can be blamed on climate change.
Why in News?
- 2020-21 saw the Indian economy register its worst-ever contraction since Independence and also the first since 1979-80.
- The National Statistical Office has, in its Provisional Estimates recently released, pegged the growth in real gross value added at basic prices (previously known as GDP at factor cost) for 2020-21 at minus 6.2%.
- But what’s unusual this time is that the farm sector (agriculture, forestry & fishing) has grown by 3.6%.
- There are two main reasons why agriculture didn’t suffer the fate of the rest of the economy last year.
- The first is the monsoon.
- The second reason had to do with agriculture being exempted from the nationwide lockdown that followed the first wave of Covid-19.
Key species at risk if planet heats up by more than 1.5C
- Corals will bleach, penguins will lose their Antarctic ice floes, puffins around the UK coast will be unable to feed their young, and the black-headed squirrel monkey of the Amazon could be wiped out if the world fails to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
- Beyond a 1.5C rise, many species will face increasing problems finding food or surviving, according to a report from WWF on the effects of climate breakdown on 12 key species across the world.
- While warming of 0.5C above current levels may seem small, the report found the effects would be harmful to a wide variety of species, including snow leopards, hippos, monkeys and frogs, sea turtles and coral.
- Leatherback turtles are sensitive to even slight changes in temperature, as the sex of the turtle is determined while the egg incubates in the sand – hotter sand means more females and not enough males, and can mean eggs fail to hatch at all.
- Commercial interests around the world will also be threatened if temperatures rise above 1.5C, with coffee plantations vulnerable to rising temperatures – nearly 90% of arabica coffee plantations in South America could become unsuitable for the crop by 2050.
- WWF also found that protecting vital habitats would be essential to stop warming exceeding 1.5C.
- The more landscapes are denuded of vegetation and their complex ecologies, the faster the climate crisis is likely to take hold.
- For instance, degraded and polluted marine environments mean the seas can absorb less carbon, deforestation destroys carbon sinks, and the drying out of peatlands and wetlands releases more carbon dioxide into the air.
Boost red blood cells to aid sickle cell and other hemoglobin diseases
Why in News?
- A series of laboratory studies is underway in the United States to improve gene therapy worldwide for sickle cell disease, a complex and sometimes deadly heritable blood disorder that dramatically affects the structure and function of oxygen-ferrying red blood cells.
- Sickle cell disease is a devastating disorder that largely affects people of African descent.
- The genetic condition derives its name from the shape of patients’ red blood cells, which have the configuration of a crescent moon or sickle.
- As one of the heritable hemoglobin diseases, doctors say the condition is related to beta thalassemia, which is largely seen in populations throughout the Mediterranean, parts of the Mideast and Asia.
- In that disease, red blood cells do not sickle but are substantially smaller than normal, and likewise are impaired as transporters of oxygen.
- The aim of all gene therapy technologies for hemoglobin diseases is to produce healthy disc-shaped red blood cells that efficiently transport oxygen throughout the body.
- In the case of sickle cell disease, the treatment corrects a constellation of medical problems—hemolytic anemia, pain, and organ damage.
- Scientist have designed a new gene therapy strategy for sickle cell disease—and other hemoglobin diseases—that boosts levels of fetal hemoglobin by increasing gamma-globin concentrations.
- Fetal hemoglobin is produced during fetal development and is more efficient at transporting oxygen than its adult counterpart.
- Producing fetal hemoglobin is a capability that can be revived through gene therapy.
- Boosting levels of fetal hemoglobin not only increases oxygen transport but dramatically lowers the frequency of disease complications.
- Gamma-globin is a component of the hemoglobin molecule, the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in red blood cells. Gamma-globin is a member of the globin superfamily of proteins involved in binding and transporting oxygen.
- Hemoglobin disorders fall into two broad categories, either thalassemia syndromes, such as beta thalassemia or structural hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease.
- In thalassemia syndromes, red blood cells are not only small, the body simply doesn’t produce enough hemoglobin to ferry oxygen to tissues.
- In structural hemoglobinapathies red blood cells are abnormally contorted, thereby limiting the transport of oxygen to tissues.
- Among patients with sickle cell disease, the crescent shape can cause severe logjams of misshapen red blood cells that have difficulty moving through vessels and capillaries. The configuration of these cells prevents them from gliding effortlessly though the vasculature, as do disc-shaped healthy erythrocytes.