Current Affairs 10 June 2021

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Current Affairs 10 June 2021

El Salvador: First country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender

El Salvador’s congress has approved President Nayib Bukele’s request to embrace bitcoin as legal tender in order to foster “financial inclusion,” investment, and economic development. In a country where 70% of Salvadorans lack access to traditional banking institutions, Bitcoin entrepreneurs were overjoyed by the ruling.

Highlights

  • Bukele, a media-savvy former mayor of San Salvador’s capital who was elected president in a landslide victory two years ago, is known for his passion and his love of technology.
  • Despite fears that the move might complicate talks with the IMF, where El Salvador is seeking a $1 billion loan, lawmakers passed the two-page motion late Tuesday night with 62 of the assembly’s 84 votes. 
  • The president’s party and allies have complete control of Congress.
  • In 90 days, the usage of cryptocurrencies as legal tender – alongside the US dollar – will become law, and the bitcoin/dollar exchange rate will be determined by the market. 
  • Salvadorans will be able to pay their taxes in bitcoin, and “every economic agent” will be compelled to accept bitcoin as payment unless they do not have access to the required technology. 
  • Bitcoin, according to Bukele, a former marketing executive, might make it easier for Salvadorans working abroad to send home remittances, which totaled $6 billion in 2019 — a fifth of the country’s GDP.

About Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency that may be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the use of intermediaries. 

It has no central bank or single administrator. Network nodes use cryptography to verify transactions, which are then stored in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. 

Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for an unknown individual or group of persons, created the cryptocurrency in 2008.

When the currency’s implementation was released as open-source software in 2009 it was put into use and transmitted through servers.

CESL- Ladakh signs pact to become Carbon Neutral

In the presence of lieutenant governor Radha Krishna Mathur, the Union territory administration of Ladakh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ONGC Energy Centre in Leh, marking the first step toward making the vital region of Ladakh carbon neutral for clean power. 

In a recent address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to make Ladakh a carbon-neutral region and revealed plans to build a GW solar power project in the region.

Highlights

The Memorandum of Understanding intends to create the world’s first geothermal field development project in Puga in Leh. On behalf of the UT administration and the LAHDC Leh, Ravinder Kumar, Secretary PDD, and Sachin Kumar Vaishya, CEO, LAHDC Leh, respectively, signed the MoU with ONGC Energy Centre. 

Advocate Tashi Gyalson, Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh; BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, and L-G Advisor Umang Narula were all present at the event. 

Solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy have more potential in Ladakh, and these clean and green energy sources will aid in carbon neutralization.

Energy Efficiency Services Ltd’s subsidiary Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) is a completely owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL). 

CESL will implement solar mini- and micro-grid solutions, energy-efficient lighting, energy storage-based solutions, efficient cooking stoves, and electric mobility solutions throughout the UT, starting with a pilot in the Zanskar valley area. 

The EV ecosystem for the UT will be built by CESL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EESL, with an emphasis on EV charging infrastructure that will use renewable energy sources and electric cars (EVs) that are being tested for high altitudes.

This programme, like all of CESL’s programmes, will be built on creative business structures that utilise carbon credits.

CESL is a new energy firm dedicated to providing safe, economical, and dependable electricity.

Vaccine prices capped for private hospitals 

The Union Health Ministry has imposed a price limitation for Covid-19 vaccination administration in private institutions.

Covaxin and Covishield have maximum prices of Rs 1,410 and Rs 780 per dosage, respectively, while Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine would cost Rs 1,145 per dose in private hospitals.

Highlights

  • The Health Ministry advised that private vaccination centres be prosecuted for overcharging in a letter sent to all states and union territories on Tuesday. 
  • The ministry also asked states and union territories to monitor the costs charged by private centres to citizens on a regular basis. 
  • The Centre announced that it has placed an order for Covishield and Covaxin in the amount of 25 crore doses and 19 crore doses, respectively. 
  • The producers of the Covid-19 vaccination will supply 44 crore doses between August and December 2021. 
  • For the procurement of both vaccines, a 30% advance has been issued to the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
  • The price limitation comes just one day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that beginning June 21, the government will distribute free vaccines to states for immunisation of all people over the age of 18.
  • The Prime Minister stated that vaccine supplies would be greatly expanded in the coming days, stating that the Centre has chosen to purchase 75% of vaccines from vaccine manufacturers for free distribution to states. 
  • The PM also declared that private sector hospitals will continue to acquire 25% of vaccinations, but that the service premium over the predetermined price of the vaccine will be set at Rs 150 per dosage.

Construction of 3.61 Lakhs houses approved under PMAY-U

Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban, the Central Government has sanctioned the construction of 3.61 lakh new dwellings (PMAY-U). The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs also announced that revision of projects involving 3.75 lakh dwellings’ had been approved. 

The decision was made at the 54th Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) meeting, which was also the first to address the Covid-19 pandemic’s second wave. The decision was reached after the government received 708 proposals for consideration.

Highlights

  • The government ministry further stated that the ‘housing for everyone’ campaign will result in the construction of 112.4 lakh dwellings. 
  • The meeting was attended by 13 states/UTs, and the ministry issued a press statement detailing the dwellings that will be built across the ‘beneficiary Led Construction and Affordable Housing in Partnership verticals.’ 
  • Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), also introduced the ‘PMAY- U Awards 2021 – 100 Days Challenge’ to further honour the state’s efforts.
  • Several other states and UTs, including Andhra Pradesh, submitted amended proposals that addressed issues such as land, topographical dangers, inter-city migration, vertical preference changes, and loss of life.
  • In Panchkula, Haryana, the MoHUA secretary also inaugurated a newly constructed Demonstration Housing Project, which would be operated as a working women’s dormitory on a rental basis.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)

  • Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the government built 10,75,474 houses under PMAY, bringing the total to 112.4 lakh. 
  • So far, 82.5 lakh dwellings have been sanctioned for construction, with 48.31 lakh completed/delivered.
  • According to the government’s press statement, the mission has received a total investment of Rs 7.35 lakh crore. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the Six LightHouse Projects (LHPs) on January 21, which was also discussed in the conference. 
  • Agartala, Chennai, Lucknow, Ranchi, Rajkot, and Indore are among the cities where LHPs are being built. 
  • For the LHPs, the government has mandated the use of cutting-edge technology.

QS world university rankings, 2022

In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Rankings 2022, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru was named the “world’s top research university.”

IISc Bangalore is the world’s top research university, according to the Citations Per Faculty (CPF) indicator when universities are adjusted for faculty size (the size of the institution is taken into account for calculating the CPF).

Highlights

  • Citations per professor is one of the six major characteristics used to determine the QS rankings, and it assesses the effect of research. 
  • Over a five-year period, it divides the total number of citations earned by a university’s research articles by the number of faculty at the institution. 
  • IISc, on the other hand, has been ranked as India’s third best institution, behind the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. 
  • According to the rankings revealed on Wednesday, all three Indian universities have made it into the top 200 in the globe.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Oxford, and Stanford University are the top three universities in the world, ranked one, two, and three, respectively. 
  • Aside from citations per professor, the faculty/student ratio — a proxy for teaching capacity — is one of the main characteristics used to determine rankings. 
  • The global student body is given an indication of expected class sizes at their chosen university by dividing student numbers by faculty numbers.
  • Then there’s the institution’s academic reputation, which is based on responses from over 130,000 academics (for this year’s ranking); and employer reputation, which is based on responses from over 75,000 employers (for this year’s ranking) about the institution’s relationship with graduate employability. 
  • The international faculty to student ratio and the international student to faculty ratio are two indicators of a university’s capacity to attract talent from around the world.

 Economist’s annual survey of most liveable cities

According to the 2021 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (The EIU) Global Liveability Ranking, Damascus is the world’s least liveable city, while most of the previous ten least liveable cities, including Dhaka and Karachi in the Asia-Pacific region, stay in the bottom ten this year.

Highlights

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, on the other hand, reduced liveability, with cities seeing lockdowns and substantial stress on their healthcare systems. 
  • This resulted in an unusual level of fluctuation in the rankings, with those formerly listed as the most livable cities plummeting.
  • Cities in the Asia-Pacific area scored 68.6, which was lower than the previous average of 73.09 before the epidemic.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (The EIU) Global Liveability Ranking for 2021 ranks Auckland to be the world’s most livable city. 
  • The top five cities in the rankings are all from the Asia-Pacific area, with Osaka, Adelaide, Tokyo, and Wellington filling out the top five. 
  • Auckland ascended to the top of the list as a result of its excellent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed schools, theatres, restaurants, and other cultural sites to remain open while the city scored highly on a variety of measures including education, culture, and the environment.
  • Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has benefited from this relative freedom as well, advancing to joint fourth place in this year’s rating. 
  • Due to their excellent stability scores, the Japanese cities of Osaka and Tokyo (capital) were ranked second and fourth, respectively. Honolulu is the index’s top gainer this year. 
  • After making significant headway in limiting the epidemic and putting out its vaccine campaign, the city climbed 46 positions to fifteenth place. 
  • In this year’s edition, European and Canadian countries performed very poorly. Vienna, previously the most livable city in the world, has dropped to 12th place. Hamburg, which dropped 34 spots to 4th place internationally, was the most significant mover down the rankings.

 Anup Chandra Pandey appointed as new election commissioner 

Anup Chandra Pandey, a retired IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre from the 1984 batch, has been appointed as Election Commissioner by the Union government.

Pandey has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of outgoing Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on April 12. This brings the three-member commission back to full strength, and it will now monitor the key assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand that will take place next year.

Highlights

The panel also includes Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. Pandey served as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, as well as the state’s Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner, before retiring from the public service in August 2019. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in business administration, and a doctorate in ancient history.

Pandey will serve on the Election Commission for just over three years, retiring in February 2024.

Election Commissioner

  • Election Commissioners of India are members of the Election Commission of India, which is tasked by the Indian Constitution with conducting free and fair elections to the national and state legislatures. 
  • Election Commissioners are usually retired officers from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • The commission was formerly a single-member body until 1989 when two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. 
  • As a result, the Election Commission now has a Chief Election Commissioner and two other Election Commissioners. The commission’s judgments are made by a majority vote. 
  • Sushil Chandra is the current Chief Election Commissioner, and Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey are the two Election Commissioners.
  • The Chief Election Commissioner cannot be readily removed from office for political grounds. 
  • This is important in order to maintain the electoral commission’s independence. On the basis of a resolution voted by both houses of parliament with a two-thirds majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the grounds of proven misconduct or incapacity. 
  • The President of India can remove the Chief Election Commissioner from his office. On the proposal of the Chief Election Commissioner, the President of India can remove other Election Commissioners. 
  • In India, there has never been a removal of a Chief Election Commissioner.

 Sunil Chhetri passes Lionel Messi in international goals

Sunil Chhetri, an Indian footballer, has eclipsed Lionel Messi in terms of international goals after scoring both goals in his country’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh in Doha, Qatar.

When Chhetri scored in the 79th minute of a qualifying match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, he passed Argentinian Messi’s 72 goals.

Highlights

  • In injury time, the 36-year-old striker added a second, bringing his tally to 74 goals for India, who are already out of contention for the World Cup but may still qualify for the Asian Cup in China. 
  • Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal leads the international list of active players with 103 goals.
  • Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates is also ahead of Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or six times and is largely regarded as the finest player of the present era.
  • He is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker or winger for Bengaluru FC of the Indian Super League and the Indian national team. 
  • Captain Fantastic is his popular name. Chhetri is the second-highest international goal scorer among active players, and the tenth-highest of all time, after Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Even with injury this time, the 36-year-old striker added a second, bringing his tally to 74 goals for India, who are already out of contention for the World Cup but may still qualify for the Asian Cup in China. 
  • In 2002, he began his professional career at Mohun Bagan. 
  • In 2010, he signed with Major League Soccer, becoming the third player from the subcontinent to do so. 
  • In 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2011, he assisted India in winning the Nehru Cup.

About Lionel Messi

  • Lionel Andrés Messi, usually known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Barcelona in La Liga and for Argentina’s national team. 
  • Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or trophies, a record six European Golden Shoes, and was nominated to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020. 
  • He is largely acknowledged as the finest player in the world and largely acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time. 
  • He has won a club-record 34 trophies with Barcelona, including ten La Liga crowns, seven Copa del Rey crowns, and four UEFA Champions Leagues.

Assam to provide Bharat Ratna, Padma like awards

The Assam cabinet has agreed to establish the ‘Asom Ratna’ award, which will be given out annually to one individual who has made a major contribution to society. On Tuesday, during a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati, a decision was made in this regard.

Every year, the cabinet also chose to award the ‘Asom Bibhushan’ award to three persons, the ‘Assam Bhushan’ award to five persons, and the ‘Asom Shree’ award to ten persons.

Highlights

  • The awards will come with monetary prizes of Rs 5 lakhs, Rs 3 lakhs, Rs 2 lakhs, and Rs 1 lakh, as well as other perks like free medical treatment for urgent illnesses, free stays in Assam Bhawans, and free transport on ASTC buses.
  • The government has decided that starting this year, a Literary Pension will be awarded in honour of litterateur Dr. Homen Borgohain on his birthday, December 7. 
  • Every year, on September 3rd, a Sports Pension will be granted in Arjun Bhogeswar Barua’s honour, as well as the Artiste Award on January 17th. 
  • The winners will be announced seven days before the awards event.
  • Pijush Hazarika, Assam Water Resources Minister and State Government Spokesperson, said the Assam Ratna award is currently in place and was formerly granted once every three years, but would now be presented every year starting in 2021.

Bharat Ratna award

  • The Bharat Ratna is the Republic of India’s highest civilian honour. The award, which was established on January 2, 1954, is given in appreciation of excellent service/performance of the highest level, regardless of race, occupation, status, or sex.
  • The award was once restricted to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public service, but in December 2011, the government broadened the requirements to include “any sphere of human endeavour.” 
  • The Prime Minister makes recommendations to the President for the Bharat Ratna, with a maximum of three nominations being granted per year.

NITI Aayog launches, ‘Surakshit Hum, Surakshit Tum Abhiyan’

On June 8, 2021, NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation announced Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan to assist district administrations in providing home-care support to COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or have moderate symptoms.

In 112 aspirational districts, the Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan has been launched. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant remarked at the event’s launch that the campaign will provide a major response to people’ demands by providing long-term support and addressing COVID-19’s long-term effects.

Highlights

  • The campaign is part of a special project called the Aspirational Districts Collaborative, which will bring together local leaders, civil society organisations, and volunteers to engage with district administrations to solve developing issues in the Aspirational Districts Program’s core priority areas. 
  • The district magistrates will lead the Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan campaign, which would involve roughly 1,000 local NGOs. 
  • The NGOs will assist in mobilising over 1 lakh local volunteers and training them to make inbound and outbound calls to patients.
  • These volunteers will be trained to assist 20 affected families by teaching caregivers on Covid guidelines and providing psychosocial support as well as frequent patient updates to the administration. 
  • They will primarily assist in providing home-care assistance to people who are afflicted, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare rules. 
  • The Piramal Foundation will collaborate with district magistrates to support NGOs and volunteers in their training. 
  • The programme intends to assist over 2 million families by providing home care assistance, putting Oxygen concentrators into operation, and constructing COVID care centres.

 Significance

  • The programme is expected to help districts prepare for managing approximately 70% of COVID cases at home, lowering strain on the healthcare system and preventing the spread of anxiety among the public. 
  • The campaign will also focus on citizen capacity building so that they may learn how to properly use the oxygen concentrators that have been provided to these regions.
  • Ajay Piramal, Chairman of the Piramal Group, stated on the occasion that the campaign’s goal is to reach every impacted person in the 112 Aspirational Districts. 
  • He also urged all stakeholders, including the government, NGOs, communities, and others, to come together and lend a hand in this initiative.

India’s first International Maritime Cluster to come up at GIFT City

At GIFT City in Gujarat, the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) will establish India’s first international maritime services cluster. The Maritime Cluster will be built as a distinct ecosystem with ports, shipping, logistics service providers, and relevant government agencies all located in close proximity. 

The cluster will take advantage of these stakeholders’ proximity and accessibility to facilitate synergistic collaboration. GIFT City is India’s first functioning smart city and International Financial Services Centre for the uninitiated (IFSC). 

Highlight

  • The Cluster plans to host a variety of maritime industry players, including key regulators/government agencies to ensure ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for cluster members; maritime/shipping industry associations and businesses.
  • It intermediates services providers, such as Shipping Finance, Marine Insurance, Maritime Arbitrators, Maritime Law Firms, and so on; and support services providers, such as Maritime Dispute Resolution. 
  • The establishment of a maritime cluster is a critical step in improving India’s credentials and economic viability in this industry.
  • This would be India’s first commercial marine services cluster, designed to boost India’s competitiveness and self-sufficiency in the marine industry by providing a one-stop-shop for the entire nautical community. 
  • GIFT City provides a seamless environment in which we can build a strong marine community and strengthen its value chain. 
  • The Cluster will benefit from GIFT City’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and world-class banking facilities and institutions, which will stimulate innovation, economic viability, collaboration, and commercial prospects.
  • According to the board, the Maritime Cluster will also include a maritime/shipping-focused Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center. 
  • The maritime community, which is currently reliant on International Arbitration Centers, should profit economically and find it easier to do business as a result of this. 
  • Gujarat Maritime University, India’s foremost college for maritime education, will also open a state-of-the-art campus at GIFT City. 
  • It’s worth noting that the Gujarat Maritime Body (GMB) – a Gujarat government initiative and India’s first maritime board – was established in 1982.

India Launches Global Energy Initiative “Mission Innovation CleanTech Exchange”

Mission Innovation CleanTech Exchange, a global initiative sponsored by India, aims to develop a network of incubators across member countries to stimulate clean energy innovation. The virtual network, which was established during Chile’s Innovating to Net Zero Summit, would enable access to experts. 

India has launched new plans to prompt action and has led a decade of innovation to guide global investment in clean energy research, development, and demonstrations, out of a total of 23 governments. 

Highlights

  • Throughout the decade, the goal is to make renewable energy more inexpensive, appealing, and accessible in order to accelerate progress toward the Paris Agreement and net-zero paths.
  • Mission Innovation 2.0, the second phase of the global programme, was launched alongside the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Conference in 2015. 
  • Over 90% of worldwide public investment and collaboration to supply the technology needed to tackle the worst global climate issue is attributed to the members as a whole.
  • The Paris Agreement met its aim of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, but it still requires massive leaps in energy innovation this decade.
  • To meet national and global climate targets by 2050, around half of global emissions reductions will be required, relying on technologies that are already available but only in the demonstration or prototype stage. 
  • Clean hydrogen, enhanced battery storage, and zero-emission fuels are examples of technologies that are not yet effective or economical enough to be used at large proportions.
  • Mission Innovation 2.0 will catalyse public-private action and investment through sector-specific missions, accelerating the growth of clean energy innovation in important regions to reach tipping points this decade under their keenness.
  • Mission Innovation 2.0 is a significant accomplishment in the run-up to the COP26 climate conference, which took place in the United Kingdom in November of last year. 
  • Since 2015, the Mission Innovation member governments have invested an additional $18 billion in sustainable energy innovation. 
  • It now invests $5.8 billion each year, up from $5.8 billion in 2015. Canada, Chile, Finland, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, Korea, and the United Kingdom have all increased their investments.
  • Other countries, such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and the European Commission, have raised their investments by at least 75% since 2015.

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