20-21 June 2023 – Current Affairs
Daily Current Capsules
20-21 June 2023
International Day For Yoga 2023
- The National Celebration of the 9th International Day of Yoga 2023 was led by Vice President of India Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.
Know! about World Yoga Day
- Every year on June 21, people around the world observe International Yoga Day.
- The goal of the day is to increase public awareness of the numerous advantages of yoga- for both physical and mental health and to motivate yoga practitioners all around the world.
- In 2014, a record-breaking 175 member states supported the draught resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga, which India had submitted to the UN General Assembly.
- The suggestion was initially presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition.
- The first International Day of Yoga celebration took place on June 21, 2015.
- The theme for this year’s Yoga Day celebration is “Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. It refers to the concept of “One Earth, One Family, and One Future” and aims to bring everyone together for the cause of health and fitness.
International Day of Yoga: 2023 – Highlights
- This year International Day of Yoga witnessed unique features like the Ocean Ring of Yoga, where the Indian Navy and Merchant ships organized CYP(common yoga protocol) demonstrations at ports/ vessels of friendly countries in different oceans.
- Yoga from the Arctic to Antarctica was another feature, in which MEA coordinated with the Ministry of Ayush to organize CYP in countries falling in and around the Prime Meridian line besides UN member countries.
- Yoga on the North Pole and South Pole regions is held in coordination with MoES at Himadri-the Indian research base in the Arctic and Bharati-the Indian research base in Antarctica.
- In Yoga Bharatmala, the Indian armed forces along with ITBP, BSF, and BRO made a chain of Yoga demonstrations in unison.
- Yoga Sagarmala witnessed yoga along the Indian coastline.
- A yoga demonstration was held at the flight deck of INS Vikrant under the leadership of the Defense Minister.
- This year Y-break @ workspaces – Yoga in the chair has been introduced, which can be done while sitting in chair.
Submarine Cable Landing in India
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued recommendations on ‘Licensing Framework and Regulatory Mechanism for Submarine Cable Landing in India’.
- Submarine cables are vital digital communication infrastructure of today’s fast-paced global economy and are the lifelines of any country’s communication grid, empowering its business and economic operations.
The salient features of the recommendations are as follows:
- Changes Required In Licensing/Regulatory Regime In View Of The New Generation Submarine Cable System
- Ownership Of Submarine Cable Laying In India
- Indian Flagged Vessel For Submarine Cable Operation And Maintenance
- Wherever required, the Domestic Submarine cable may be permitted to go beyond ITW or EEZ of India for techno-commercial benefits.
- Equal access to facilities at the Cable Landing Stations (CLS) including landing \Domestic and international submarine cables can terminate at the same CLS but with each cable having its own separate network element/equipment.
- International Submarine Cable should be allowed to carry domestic traffic on dedicated fiber pairs
- ‘Essential Services’ status be accorded to CLS and Submarine Cables operation and maintenance services. Also, this critical communication infrastructure may be notified as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) under National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
- The clearances related to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Coastal Region Zone (CRZ) required for SMC and CLS may also be made online as a part of Saral Sanchar portal.
Cable Landing Stations in India
- As per the existing telecom licensing regime in India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) establishes the orders, regulations, and directions on the telecommunications sector, while the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issues licenses.
- The company laying submarine cables in Indian Territorial Waters must hold a valid ILD license issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
- International Long-Distance Operators (ILDOs) licensees are allowed to set up Cable Landing Station (CLS) for landing of submarine cables, governed by the regulations/orders as may be made by the TRAI from time to time.
- As of the end of 2022, there are 15 international subsea cables landing in 14 distinct cable landing stations in 5 cities across India, in Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin, Tuticorin and Trivandrum.
- There are also domestic submarine cables such as the Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Cable (CANI) connecting Port Blair along with seven other Islands of Andaman & Nicobar, and the Kochi-Lakshadweep Island (KLI) cable system for a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine optical fiber cable between Kochi and 11 Islands of Lakshadweep.
Knowledge Sharing Platform
- For sharing of knowledge and innovative best practices, NHAI has launched a ‘Knowledge Sharing’ platform.
Know! about the Platform
- This initiative will help the authority to collaborate with experts and citizens who want to share knowledge and insights related to topics such as road design, construction, road safety, environment sustainability and related fields.
- The platform will encourage sharing of best practices from around the world and will contribute towards holistic development of the National Highway infrastructure in the country.
- The best practices can be uploaded on the NHAI web portal
- With the help of innovation and modern technology, NHAI is developing National Highway infrastructure at a rapid pace. Apart from innovative use of recycled materials such as fly-ash and plastic waste, NHAI is also encouraging use of Recycled Asphalt (RAP) and Recycled Aggregates (RA) in the National Highway construction to promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
- The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has announced that the Omicron-specific mRNA-based Booster vaccine developed using the indigenous platform technology by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. and supported under the Mission COVID Suraksha, implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), has got a nod from the office of the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
About the Platform
- This is a disease-agnostic platform and can be used to make other vaccines in a relatively short developmental timeline.
- Clinical Trial Networks, with Consortia of Hospitals was supported by NBM-DBT and the same sites were used for the mRNA vaccine
- DBT has facilitated establishing Gennova’s mRNA-based next-generation vaccine manufacturing for developing the platform technology from proof of concept till Phase I clinical trial of the prototype mRNA-based vaccine developed against the Wuhan strain.
- The project was further supported under the’Mission COVID Suraksha.
- The Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission’ by DBT’s dedicated Mission Implementation Unit at Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), for further clinical development and Scale up of the prototype vaccine,
- The platform technology developed was used to develop an Omicron-specific booster vaccine for COVID-19.
- GEMCOVAC®-OM is an Omicron-specific mRNA-based Booster vaccine developed using the indigenous platform technology by Gennova in collaboration with DBT.
- Like the prototype vaccine, GEMCOVAC®-OM is a thermostable vaccine, which does not require ultra-cold chain infrastructure used for other approved mRNA-based vaccines, making it easy for deployment pan India.
- It is delivered intra-dermally using a needle-free injection device system.
Know! about DBT
- The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science & Technology, promotes and accelerates the development of biotechnology in India, including the growth and application of biotechnology in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment, and industry.
Know! about BIRAC
- Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.
Know! about Gennova
- Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., headquartered in Pune, India, is a biotechnology company dedicated to the research and development, production, and commercialization of biotherapeutics (biologics and vaccines) to address life-threatening diseases across various indications.
Mission COVID Suraksha
- It which will help the development process of approximately five to six Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Starting from the research and development part of the vaccines, the mission will help them in getting licence and will finally introduce them in the market.
- As several vaccines are in the final phase of trials, this mission will ensure that there is supply of enough doses of these vaccine shots, once they get approval.
- The mission aims at providing end-to-end passage to vaccines — from preclinical stage to manufacturing.
- The aim of the project is to also establish clinical trial sites and strengthen the existing immunoassay laboratories, central laboratories and suitable facilities for animal studies, production facilities and other test facilities to support Covid-19 vaccine development
- soon start combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.
One Nation One Helpline
- As part of the broader vision of One Nation One Helpline, and as prioritised during the 2nd National Chief Secretaries’ Conference, the Ministry has taken a decision of integration of Women Helpline, Child Helpline with ERSS-112 (Emergency Response Support System).
Child Helpline – Present mechanism
- Childline Services is defined in Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015 under section 2(25) as a twenty-four hours emergency outreach service for children in crisis which links them to emergency or long-term care and rehabilitation service.
- The service can be accessed by any child in crisis or an adult on their behalf by dialing a four digit toll free number (1098).
- Ministry under erstwhile Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme was supporting this 24×7 helpline Childline 1098 service, through Childline India Foundation (CIF) and its partner NGOs.
- Childline India Foundation (CIF) was the ‘MOTHER NGO’ managing this service as Childline.
- CIF is rendering Childline Services in 568 districts, 135 Railway Stations and 11 Bus Stands through its network of 1000+ units.
Child Helpline – shortcomings
- The current system however lacks interoperability with other services like Police, Fire, Ambulance which leads to loss of precious time in distress situations.
- Furthermore, the CIF network could cover only 568 districts which had left almost 200 districts uncovered under ChildLine.
Integrate of Child Helpline with ERSS-112
- Therefore, Government has taken a decision to integrate Child Helpline with ERSS-112 so that the responsibility of the administration towards children is taken over and made functional through responsible and responsive administration.
- The Child Helpline system run in collaboration with the States and UTs will have positive effect on strengthening the Service Delivery structures under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 as amended in 2021.
- The technical integration with the ERSS-112 is expected to usher in seamless flow of information which will aid repatriation and restoration of children in vulnerable situations within the district, state and across the States and UTs effectively.
Child Helpline – new guidelines
- Ministry has issued guidelines of Mission Vatsalya Scheme subsuming erstwhile Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme according to which the Child Helpline will be run in coordination with State and District functionaries including Police, Counselors, Case Workers and integrated with the Emergency Response Support System 112 (ERSS-112) helpline of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
World Sickle Cell Awareness Day
- World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is observed on June 19th each year to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD) and its impact on individuals, families and communities worldwide.
Know! about Sickle cell disease
- Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder characterized by abnormal red blood cells that take on a crescent or sickle shape and these irregularly shaped cells can cause blockages in blood vessels, leading to a variety of health complications.
- This year the theme of World Sickle Disease Day is ‘Building and strengthening global sickle cell communities, formalizing new born screening and knowing your sickle cell disease status’.
- The theme is about recognizing the first step to understanding the genotype in infants and adults in fighting sickle cell disease.
- The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India is the nodal body to look after all the development agenda of Persons with Disabilities of the country.
Signs and Symptoms Of Sickle Cell Disease
- Early signs and symptoms of sickle cell include swelling of hands and feet. This swelling, known as dactylitis, is quite painful.
- If it is a condition of sickle cell anaemia (shortage of red blood cells in the body), a person can experience extreme tiredness and suffer from mood swings.
How To Manage Sickle Cell
- Since sickle cell is a lifelong disease, a blood and bone marrow transplant is currently the only cure for it. There are, however, other effective treatments to manage the symptoms.
- Some lifestyle changes like increasing water intake, avoiding going to places where oxygen might be less and maintaining personal hygiene are ways to control the symptoms.
Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2023-24
- The government has decided to issue two tranches of sovereign gold bonds (SGBs) during the first half of the current financial year.
- The first tranche will be available for subscription from June 19-23 and the second tranche will open from September 11-15
- The price for Series-I 2023-24 is fixed at ₹5,926/gm.
- The Government of India in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India has decided to allow discount of Rs 50 per gram (Rs 5876) from the issue price to those investors who apply online and the payment is made through digital mode.
- Investment in Sovereign Gold Bonds has helped the RBI raise over ₹30,000 cr since its inception in November 2015
Know! about the Scheme
- Objective – to provide an alternate option when it comes to owning gold.
- It aims to reduce the demand for physical gold, thereby keeping a tab on gold imports and utilising resources effectively.
- Issuing authority – Reserve Bank of India
- Under the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India will issue the bonds on behalf of the Government of India.
- The bonds will be sold at post offices and banks and issued in denomination of gram.
- They will issue these bonds on payment of money.
- Later on, the bonds will be connected to the price of gold.
- From one person, the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme would accept a minimum investment of 2 gm gold and a maximum investment of 500 gm in a single fiscal year.
Why the scheme was introduced?
- The gold demand rises in times of uncertainty or high inflation.
- Gold demand is mostly met through imports
- Years of high imports are ones of high current account deficits which, in turn, have weakened the rupee.
- So, in FY12, when India imported $56.5 billion of gold, the current account deficit increased to $78.2 billion.
- It peaked at $88.2 billion or 4.8% of GDP in FY13, when India imported gold worth $53.8 billion.
- It is to reduce this huge import bill that, in November 2015, the government tried to introduce gold bonds.
LEED Zero certified green building projects
- US Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI) said in a statement that India has emerged as a top country with LEED Zero green building projects.
- India has become a global leader in LEED Zero certifications, outperforming both the US and China
- India has 73 LEED Zero certified projects, comprising 45 per cent of the more than 150 total LEED Zero certifications.
- Haryana and Tamil Nadu are leading the way in certifications. The US and China have the second and third most LEED Zero certifications, with 47 (30 per cent) and 15 (10 per cent) certifications, respectively.
LEED Zero recognises projects
- LEED Zero recognises projects that have reached net zero or net positive status in the categories of carbon, energy, water, or waste.
- In India, realty firm DLF and FMCG player ITC are leading in the LEED Zero green certification initiative.
- The LEED Zero projects, including office spaces, hospitality facilities, retail malls, industrial manufacturing projects, and data canters, serve a mix of sectors.
- India-based real estate developer DLF is the leader globally in total LEED Zero certifications with 45 certifications, followed by ITC Group with 15 certifications
Know! about GBCI
- Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems. It also manages other certifications.
Know! about LEED Certification
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the world’s most widely used green building rating system in the world.
- It is available for virtually all building types.
- This certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social and governance benefits.
- It is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.
- To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality.
- Projects go through a verification and review process by GBCI and are awarded points that correspond to a level of LEED certification: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points) and Platinum (80+ points).
- This rating system is developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
India gifts indigenously-built missile corvette ‘INS Kirpan’ to Vietnam
- India gifted the indigenously-built in-service missile corvette INS Kirpan to Vietnam to enhance that country’s naval capabilities.
Know! about INS Kirpan
- It is a Khukri class missile corvette displacing 1,350 tonnes and was commissioned into the Navy on January 12, 1991.
- It has a displacement of close to 1,400 tonnes, a length of 91 metres, a beam of 11 metres, and is capable of speed in excess of 25 knots.
- The ship is fitted with a medium range gun, 30 mm close range guns, chaff launchers, and surface to surface missiles, enabling it to perform a wide variety of roles, including coastal and offshore patrol, coastal security, surface warfare, anti-piracy, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, according to the Navy.
India – Vietnam relations
- In June 2022, India and Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support
- Hanoi has procured 12 high speed patrol boats for the Vietnamese border guard force under a $100 million Line of Credit (LoC) extended in September 2014.
- In 2016, India extended another $500 million defence LoC, and discussions are under way to identify the equipment.
- India has also announced gifting two simulators and monetary grant towards the setting up of a Language and IT Lab at the Air Force Officers Training School for capacity building in the Vietnamese armed forces.
- India and Vietnam have shared a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
- Vietnam is an important partner in India’s ‘Act East’ policy and the Indo-Pacific vision, the statement added.
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