Daily Current Affairs
07 December 2020

General Studies-I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Topic: Important National Day

1)Armed Forces Flag Day

In News

The Armed Forces Flag Day or the Flag Day of India is a day dedicated to India towards collection of funds from people of India for the welfare of the Indian Armed Forces personnel.

  • It has been observed annually in India on December 7 since 1949.
  • Over the years, it has become a tradition to commemorate this day as an honour to the soldiers, sailors and airmen of India.

Significance and purpose

The Flag day is mainly observed to serve three basic purposes

  • Rehabilitation of battle casualties
  • Welfare of serving personnel and their families
  • Resettlement and welfare of ex-servicemen and their families.

The Armed Forces Flag Day commemoration and the collection of funds through distribution of flags. It is a time for Indians to express its gratitude and appreciation to the current and veteran military personnel of India and to acknowledge those who died in service to the country.

Flag Day Fund

The original Flag Day Fund was set up in 1949, by the Defence Minister's Committee. In 1993, the Defence Ministry of India consolidated related welfare funds into a single Armed Forces Flag Day fund. Those funds include:

  • Amalgamated Special Fund for War Bereaved, War Disabled and other ex-Servicemen/Serving Personnel
  • Flag Day Fund
  • St Dunstan's (India) and Kendriya Sainik Board Fund
  • Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Fund.

 

Source: News On Air

 

 

General Studies-III

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Topic: Economy

2) Export Promotion Council for Ayush products

In News

Commerce, Industry and AYUSH ministries have decided to work together to set up an Export Promotion Council to boost AYUSH exports.

AYUSH: The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy is purposed with developing education, research and propagation of indigenous alternative medicine systems in India.

Objective

Trade and commerce in the AYUSH sector needed to upscale quickly in order to meet the growing demands from India and abroad, and to serve the larger number of people who are now looking up to these systems for maintaining their health.

Details

  • The proposed AEPC can be housed at Ministry of AYUSH.
  • Standardization of HS Code for AYUSH will be expedited and the Ministry of AYUSH will work in collaboration with Bureau of Indian Standards to develop international standards for AYUSH products as well as services.
  • The ministry of AYUSH and AYUSH industry will identify best practice and promote them among the public.
  • The AYUSH industry will work on ensuring quality and standards of AYUSH products as well as to become price competitive and AYUSH will figure out brand India activities.
  • AYUSH based solutions for disease resistance and treatment during the difficult times of the CoVID-19 pandemic and called for upscaling trade and commerce in AYUSH sector in order to meet the growing demands from India and abroad
  • AYUSH immunity protocols and the National Clinical Management Protocol for CoVID-19 for Ayurveda and Yoga were timely interventions which provided relief to large sections of the population.

Harmonized System/HS Code

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products.

BIS

The Bureau of Indian Standards is the national Standards Body of India working under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India. It is established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 which came into effect on 23 December 1986.

 

Source: News On Air

 

Topic: Environment

3) Central Pollution Control Board

In News

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has raised concern on pollution and frothing in river Yamuna.

  • The CPCB has asked Delhi and other states for effective sewage treatment. It has also sought action taken report (ATR) from all concerned agencies by mid of this month.

Issue & directions

  • Recently, CPCB observed froth formation and increase in ammonia levels in river Yamuna.
  • It issued directions to Delhi Jal Board to submit time bound action plan to ensure compliance to norms by sewage treatment plants.
  • Delhi Pollution Control Committe has been directed to take action against non-complying Common Effluent Treatment Plants and industrial units.
  • Directions have also been issued to State Pollution Control Boards of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

CPCB

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
  • The CPCB is entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEFCC.
  • The board is led by its Chairperson appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet of the Government of India.
  • CPCB has its head office in New Delhi.
  • Functions of CPCB comes under both national level and as State Boards for the Union Territories.
  • CPCB, under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, aims to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

Flotation Froth

The hydrophobic particles attach to the air bubbles, which rise to the surface, forming a froth. The froth is removed from the cell, producing a concentrate ("con") of the target mineral.

Rise in Ammonia

When ammonia is present in water at high enough levels, it is difficult for aquatic organisms to sufficiently excrete the toxicant, leading to toxic buildup in internal tissues and blood, and potentially death. Environmental factors, such as pH and temperature, can affect ammonia toxicity to aquatic animals.

 

Source: News On Air

 

Topic: Health & Safety

4) Drugs Controller General of India

In News

Zydus Cadila Pharmaceuticals (Ahmedabad) has announced that the company has received an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to begin the phase-III clinical trials with its biological therapy Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegiHep) in Covid-19 patients.

  • Zydus has also completed the phase-II human clinical trials of its vaccine candidate- ZyCov-D for Covid-19 and its results are currently analysed.

Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegiHep)

  • PegiHep is an approved drug and is being re-purposed for the treatment of Covid-19. The product was first approved internationally in 2001 and is also included in WHO's essential Medicines List.
  • The second phase trials indicated that this biological drug had a beneficial impact on the patient suffering from moderate Covid-19 disease by reducing their viral load.
  • Zydus Cadila's Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, PegiHep, was originally approved for Hepatitis C and was launched in the Indian market in 2011.

Details

  • Zydus Cadila is also conducting a Phase 2 trial in Mexico.
  • The company is working with the USFDA to start an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b in order to initiate appropriate clinical trials in the US.

 

Drugs Controller General of India

 

  • DGCI is a department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines, and sera in India.
  • Drugs Controller General of India, comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • DCGI sets standards for manufacturing, sales, import, and distribution of drugs in India.
  • DCGI heads the Indian drug regulatory body the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), whose functions include ensuring the quality of drugs and cosmetics sold in the country, approval of new drugs and regulating clinical trials.

 

Functions

DCGI lays down the standard and quality of manufacturing, selling, import and distribution of drugs in India.

  • Acting as appellate authority in case of any dispute regarding the quality of drugs.
  • Preparation and maintenance of national reference standard.
  • To bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • Training of Drug Analysts deputed by State Drug Control Laboratories and other Institutions
  • Analysis of Cosmetics received as survey samples from CDSCO (central drug standard control organisation)

 

 

Source: News On Air

 

Topic: Important International Organization

5) International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)

In News

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) obtained membership of International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

Significance

  • With this membership IFSCA would have access to IAIS’s global network and would be able to exchange ideas and information with other global regulators.
  • This would help in developing a vibrant global Insurance hub in IFSC at GIFT City.
  • Currently, 17 leading Insurance entities are operating from GIFT IFSC undertaking offshore Insurance and Reinsurance business.
  • This membership would go a long way in connecting IFSC with global insurance institutions and would facilitate IFSCA in joint development of global insurance business with other global centres.

IAIS

  • IAIS is a voluntary membership organisation of insurance supervisors and regulators from more than 200 jurisdictions constituting 97% of the world’s insurance premiums.
  • It is the international standard setting body in charge of developing and assisting in the implementation of principles, standards and other supporting materials for the supervision of the insurance sector.
  • Established in 1994, the IAIS headquartered in Switzerland.
  • The IAIS provides a forum for Members to share their experiences and understanding of insurance supervision and insurance markets. In recognition of its collective expertise, the IAIS is routinely called upon by the G20 leaders and other international standard setting bodies.
  • Some of the leading members of IAIS are:
  • United Kingdom- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • USA- National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NIAC)
  • India- Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) etc.

International Financial Services Centres Authority

  • The central government has established International Financial Services Centres Authority to regulate all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) with headquarters in Gandhinagar (Gujarat).
  • The authority will regulate financial products such as securities, deposits or contracts of insurance, financial services, and financial institutions which have been previously approved by any appropriate regulator such as Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) etc., in an IFSC.
  • It will also regulate any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions in an IFSC.
  • It may also recommend to the central government any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions, which may be permitted in an IFSC.

 

Source: PIB

 

Topic: Economics

6) Liquidity Adjustment Facility

In News

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to facilitate a more efficient liquidity management in Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).

  • RBI has decided to extend the LAF and MSF (Marginal Standing Facility) to RRBs.
  • It has also decided to permit the RRBs to participate in the Call/Notice money market, both as borrowers and lenders.
  • RRBs are currently not permitted to access the liquidity windows of the Reserve Bank as well as the call/notice money market.
  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank kept the repo rate unchanged at 4 percent and maintained an 'accommodative' stance.

Liquidity adjustment facility (LAF)

  • The facility was introduced in RBI in 1998 based on the recommendations of Narasimham Committee on Banking Sector Reforms.
  • LAF is a monetary policy tool used in India by the Reserve Bank of India or RBI.
  • LAF's help the RBI manage liquidity and provide economic stability by offering banks the opportunity to borrow money through repurchase agreements or repos or to make loans to the RBI via reverse repo agreements.
  • LAF’s can manage inflation in the economy by increasing and reducing the money supply.

Other tools used by RBI to control liquidity

RBI uses four tools to control the flow of liquidity in the country. They are:

  • Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)
  • Liquidity Adjustment Facilities (includes repo rate and reverse repo rate)
  • Statutory Liquidity Ratio
  • Open Market Operations

Narasimham Committee

The Narasimham Committee basically recommended changes in the working of banking and financial systems. The committee made the following recommendations

  • To reduce the higher proportion of Cash Reserve Ratio and Statutory Liquidity Ratio.
  • The committee recommended to reduce the number of public sector banks and develop three to four big banks in the country to international bank.
  • It recommended the establishment of Asset Reconstruction Fund. This is to help banks get rid of their bad debts.
  • To set up new agency to set up supervise financial institutions such as mutual funds, merchant banks, leasing companies, factor companies, etc.

Regional Rural Bank

  • RRBs are Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks (Government Banks) operating at regional level in different States of India.
  • They have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.
  • RRBs may have branches set up for urban operations and their area of operation may include urban areas too.

RRBs perform various functions in following heads:

  • Providing banking facilities to rural and semi-urban areas.
  • Carrying out government operations like disbursement of wages of MGNREGA workers, distribution of pensions etc.
  • Providing Para-Banking facilities like locker facilities, debit and credit cards, mobile banking, internet banking, UPI etc.
  • Small financial banks.

Marginal Standing Facility (MSF)

  • Marginal Standing Facility is an overnight liquidity support provided by RBI to commercial banks with a higher interest rate over the repo rate.
  • MSF can be used by a bank after it exhausts its eligible security holdings for borrowing under other options like the LAF repo.
  • Usually, when banks need short term loans from the RBI, they pledge their security holdings that are above the SLR holdings with the RBI to get one day loans under repo.
  • Under MSF, a bank can borrow one-day loans form the RBI, even if it doesn’t have any eligible securities excess of its SLR requirement (maintains only the SLR).
  • The MSF was introduced by the RBI in its monetary policy for 2011-12.

 

Source: Business