Daily Current Affairs for 23rd April 2021

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China – Sri Lanka Meet

Why in News

Defense Minister of China will visit Sri Lanka next week, in the second high­ level visit from Beijing to Colombo in the past six months.

Key Points

  • The China-Sri-Lanka meeting will be held in between 27-29 April 2021.
  • China has provided crucial support to Sri Lanka in the pandemic in 2020, by way of a $1 billion loan, as well as a $1.5 billion currency swap facility to give boost Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves.
  • Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a case, of nearly 20 petitions challenging a Bill, of proposed, special laws to govern the China­ funded $1.4­ billion Port City coming up on reclaimed land on Colombo’s seafront.

Chinese influence on Sri-Lanka

  • The Sri Lanka is strategically situated at the center of the Indian Ocean region which attracted the attention of great powers emerging in or venturing into the country seeking to establish its influence.
  • The rising powers of India and China are seeking to shape the region to advance their strategic interests, with Sri Lanka.
  • China is Sri Lanka’s biggest trading partner and largest import market.
  • Also, Sri Lanka was an early signatory to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and a dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
  • Besides the huge financial help, China is offering the country by sending an army of workers is welcomed by the Sri Lanka.
  • Also, Sri Lanka is the major country on the String of Pearls which is part of the Chinese strategic initiative in the Indian Ocean, known as the Maritime Silk Road and is part of the bigger development strategy known as the One Belt, One Road.
  • Over the years, Sri Lanka has been lost its financial strength.
  • China’s acquisition of the strategic Hambantota port from Sri Lanka has given it “control of a territory” is one such example.
  • This port is just a few hundred miles off the shores of India, highlighting its “debt trap” the country is facing.

Way Forward

  • China-Sri Lanka scheduled meeting is assuming the significance in the wake of heightened scrutiny within Sri Lanka, over China’s role and presence in the country, through infrastructure projects.


Van Dhan Vikas Yojana

Why in News

Van Dhan Vikas Yojana is promoting and backing tribal entrepreneurship in a big way.

Key Points

  • According to TRIFED, in less than 18 months, Van Dhan Vikas Yojana has gained tremendous root with its quick adoption.
  • Its robust implementation aided by the state nodal and implementation agencies across India.
  • Till now, 33,360 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, subsumed into 2224 VDVKCs of 300 forest dwellers each, have been sanctioned by TRIFED as of March 31, 2021.
  • As of now, 50 lakhs tribal have been impacted by the Van Dhan start-ups programme up until now.

Achievement in Van Dhan Vikas Yojana

  • North-East is leading the way with 80% of the established VDVKs.
  • Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh are other states where the adoption of scheme giving overwhelming results.
  • Manipur emerged as the Champion state where the Van Dhan programme became the major source of employment for the local tribal.

Sankalp se Siddhi” – Village & Digital Connect Drive

  • It was started from 1st April 2021.
  • This 100-day drive will entail 150 teams (10 in each region from TRIFED and State Implementation Agencies/Mentoring Agencies/Partners) visiting ten villages each.
  • 100 villages in each region and 1500 villages in the country will be covered in the next 100 days.
  • Objective is:
  • To activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in 100 villages.
  • To achieve Rs 200 crore Sales during the next 12 months from Van Dhan units.
  • To identify locations and shortlist potential VDVKs for clustering as TRIFOOD, SFURTI units as larger enterprises.

Van Dhan Vikas Yojana

  • The Van Dhan Scheme is an initiative launched by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED on 14th April, 2018.
  • Its Objective is to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
  • At State level, the State Nodal Agency for Minor Forest Produces (MFPs) and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.
  • Under this initiative, tribal community-owned Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be set-up (VDVKs) in predominantly forested tribal districts.
  • A Kendra shall constitute of 15 tribal SHGs, each comprising of up to 20 tribal NTFP gatherers or artisans i.e., about 300 beneficiaries per Van Dhan Kendra.
  • It is 100% Central Government Funded initiative.

Minor Forest Produces (MFPs)

  • Under Section2 (I) of Forest Right Act 2006 defines Minor Forest Produces (MFPs) as the all-non-timber forest produce of plant origin.
  • It includes bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED)

  • TRIFED came into existence in August 1987 under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 by the Government of India as a National level Cooperative body.
  • It is mandated to ringing about socio-economic development of tribal of the country by institutionalizing the trade of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) & Surplus Agricultural Produce (SAP) collected/ cultivated by them.
  • It plays a dual role of both a market developer and a service provider, empowering them with knowledge and tools to better their operations in a systematic, scientific manner and also assist them in developing their marketing approach.

Way Forward

  • Under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, TRIFED, in collaboration with Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is implementing two “TRIFOOD” projects at:
  • Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and
  • Raigad in Maharashtra.
  • They will operate in a hub and spoke model with the Van Dhan units which will be the feeder units.
  • TRIFED is exploring the setting up of similar MFP based Industrial parks in partnership with State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and other states.


Leaders’ Summit on climate

Why in News

U.S. President announced that the U.S. would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%­52% by 2030.

Key Points

  • U.S. would double its annual financing commitments to developing countries, including a tripling of its adaptation finance by 2024.
  • The emissions targets are a part of the Paris Agreement on climate which are non-­binding and the details of how they will be achieved are not available.
  • The US annual financing is a part of a $100 billion a year commitment from developed countries to developing countries for the period 2020­-25.
  • The withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement means it has not yet met its financing commitments either.

Climate and Employment

  • The US President have linked climate action and clean technology to jobs and economic growth.
  • According to the US President, within climate response is an extraordinary engine of job creation and economic opportunity ready to be fired up.
  • United States also sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half-in-half by the end of this decade.

India and the US Energy and Climate Partnership

  • India and the U.S. were launching an energy and climate partnership during Leaders’ Summit on Climate.
  • As a climate responsible developing country, India welcomes partners to create templates of sustainable development in India which can help other developing countries to access to green finance and clean technologies.
  • Its Objectives would be:
  • Mobilize finance and speed clean energy deployment;
  • Demonstrate and scale innovative clean technologies needed to decarbonize sectors, including industry, transportation, power, and buildings; and
  • Build capacity to measure, manage, and adapt to the risks of climate related impacts.
  • It will proceed along two main tracks:
  • The strategic clean energy partnership and
  • The climate action and finance mobilization dialogue, which will build on and subsume a range of existing processes.

India’s role in Climate Change:

  • India is among the few countries whose Nationally Defined Contributions (NDCs) are 2­degree Celsius compatible.
  • India is targeting a 2030 GDP emissions intensity (volume of emissions per unit of GDP) that is 33%­35% below 2005 levels.
  • It also seeks to have 40% of power generated from no fossil fuel sources by 2030.

Nationally Defined Contributions (NDCs)

  • Nationally Defined Contributions are targets defined by each country to help achieve the Paris Agreement’s objective of keeping global warming to considerably below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Leaders’ Climate Summit

  • On March 26, the U.S. President invited 40 world leaders to participate in the virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate.
  • The objective of Leaders’ summit on Climate is to prepare world to work on multiple fronts to address the climate crisis, including emissions reductions, finance, innovation and job creation, and resilience and adaptation.
  • This summit is a key milestone on UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) which will held on November 2021 in Glasgow.
  • It is designed to increase the chances for meaningful outcomes on global climate action at COP26.
  • It will reconvene the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate which is a U.S.-led initiative that played a vital role in delivering the Paris Agreement.


Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS)

Why in News

India is well positioned to become a vibrant hub for Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) innovations.

Key Points

  • India is going to become hub of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) due to the large number of 4G data subscribers in India.
  • Nearly 96% of whom access the digital world via open-source based mobile operating systems in India.
  • On 22nd April, a virtual roundtable discussion ‘Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) in Government’ was organized by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) in collaboration with Omidyar Network India.
  • The #FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge was also launched to harness the innovation potential of the FOSS community and start-ups to solve for critical issues in GovTech.

Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS)

  • Free and open-source software (FOSS) is free and open-source software.
  • Anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way.
  • The source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software.

Significance of Free and open-source software (FOSS)

  • It maintains the software user’s civil liberty rights.
  • FOSS decreased software costs, protecting privacy, education, and giving users more control over their own hardware.
  • As a key component of GovTech 3.0, FOSS is about building secure and inclusive Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs).
  • It will harness the potential of social innovators to help solve India’s toughest problems.

Major Initiatives in area of Free & Open-Source Software

  • NRCFOSS – National Resource Centre for Free & Open-Source Software: It is established to provide design, development and support services to the FOSS community in the country and to strengthen the global FOSS ecosystem by contributing to the open-source pool.
  • BOSS – Bharat Operating System Solutions: BOSS is a GNU/Linux based localized Operating System distribution that supports 18 Indian languages.
  • INDO-US R&D Projects: Indo – US projects have been initiated at CDAC (Chennai, Trivandrum), IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and IIIT Delhi to pursue high-end research in areas of Smart buildings, Power grid and Healthcare along with US counterparts.

#FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge

  • It is launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to accelerate adoption of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) In Government.
  • It calls upon FOSS innovators, technology entrepreneurs and Indian Start-ups to submit implementable open-source product innovations in CRM and ERP with possible applications for Govtech in Health, Education, Agriculture, Urban Governance etc.
  • Participants to be eligible for:
  • Incubation support,
  • Prize money,
  • Mentorship by domain experts,
  • Institutional support from eminent organizations for incubation of ideas and
  • Listing of solutions on GeM.

Way Forward

  • The roundtable provided a forum for e-Gov leaders of States, Central Ministries and Agencies to share their experiences, best practices and learnings in using FOSS in GovTech platforms and applications.
  • To drive adoption of FOSS in Government, and the announcement of the #FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge was welcomed as an important step forward in this direction.


The Unicorn

Why in News

Recently Scientists have founded an object nicknamed ‘the Unicorn’ black hole in the Milky Way galaxy and the closest to our solar system.

Key Points

  • According to the Scientists, it may be the smallest known galaxy in our solar system.
  • This black hole nicknamed ‘the Unicorn’ partly because V723 Mon is in the Monoceros constellation that means to unicorn and partly because of its very unique system in black hole’s mass and relative closeness to Earth.
  • V723 Mon is a luminous star called a red giant orbits with the black hole in a so-called binary star system.

The Unicorn

  • ‘The Unicorn’ falls into a “mass gap” between the largest-known neutron stars – objects similarly formed by a large star’s collapse – at around 2.2 times the mass of the Sun.
  • Its strong gravity alters the shape of its companion star in a phenomenon known as tidal distortion.
  • This making it elongated rather than spherical and causing its light to change as it moves along its orbital path.

Black Holes

  • A black hole is that place in space where gravity is as much strong even light cannot get out.
  • Reason behind this much strong gravity is that the matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
  • They are electromagnetically dark, and so they are difficult to find.
  • Black hole is roughly three times the mass of the Sun and located about 1,500 light years (9.5 trillion km) from the Earth.
  • Three categories of black holes are:
  • The smallest Black Holes called stellar mass black holes formed by the gravitational collapse of a single star.
  • There are gargantuan ‘supermassive’ black holes like the galaxy’s center which is 26,000 light years from Earth is about four million times the sun’s mass.
  • A few intermediate-mass black holes also have been found.
  • The closest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri, is 4 light years away.


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