Daily Current Affairs Date 18th June 2021
- The World’s Fifth Ocean Is Officially on The Map Thanks to National Geographic.
- India stands for rule-based order in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh.
- Biden-Putin Summit.
- Google Pay expands Cards Tokenization
- Pfizer, Moderna, Serum & the indemnity issue; what is it and what it means for India?
- ‘Human-centred COVID-19 recovery’, agree 181 countries unanimously at ILO Conference
- Centre allocates Rs 3,410 crore to Gujarat under Jal Jeevan Mission
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Q- Consider the following statements:
- India is a member of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
- The IHO has recognised the Southern Ocean as the world’s fifth ocean since 1953.
- The Southern Ocean is the only ocean that touches the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
a)1 and 2 only b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only d)1, 2 and 3
The World’s Fifth Ocean Is Officially on The Map Thanks to National Geographic
- National Geographic has now recognized the Southern Ocean as the world’s fifth ocean.
- The announcement on June 8 – just in time for World Ocean Day – marks the end of decades of dispute over the body of water surrounding Antarctica and will, quite literally, put the Southern Ocean on the map.
- Until now, only four oceans have been officially recognized – the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans.
- These are defined by continent, making the Southern Ocean somewhat of an anomaly – it is defined, instead, by current.
- The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) flows from east to west around Antarctica and was established 34 million years ago.
- It is centered at a latitude of 60 degrees south (the northern boundary of the Southern Ocean).
- The current creates an invisible ring around Antarctica, in which waters are colder and less salty than those to the north.
- However, it has long been debated by geographers whether the oceanic ring was merely an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, or whether it was an ocean in its own right.
- The U.S. Board of Geographic Names recognized the Southern Ocean and approved its name in 1999.
- The proposed boundaries were presented to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in 2000, but are still yet to be agreed on some 21 years later.
- Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has only recognized the Southern Ocean since February this year.
- “The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but because there was never agreement internationally, we never officially recognized it,” National Geographic Society Geographer Alex Tait told the National Geographic.
- The National Geographic Society has been making maps for over a century and has employed geographers to oversee all changes made to every map published since the 1970s.
- They generally follow the IHO when it comes to marine nomenclature, hence this latest acknowledgment of the Southern Ocean marks a break from that tradition.
- It is hoped that the recognition will raise awareness for the new ocean and its ecologically distinct ecosystem, and also promote much-needed conservation efforts – industrial fishing has been an issue in the Southern Ocean for years.
Q- Consider the following statements about the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS):
1)It was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
2)It is the globally recognized regime dealing with all matters relating to the law of the sea.
Which of the given above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only (b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2
India stands for rule-based order in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh.
- Flagging India’s concerns over security challenges in the maritime sphere, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday called for a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific and underlined the need for ensuring freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce in the international waterways including the South China Sea.
- In a virtual address at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), Singh said the developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond, seen as an oblique reference to China’s aggressive behaviour in the critical sea lanes.
- The defence minister also said that terrorism and radicalisation are the gravest threats to global peace and security and pitched for collective efforts to fully disrupt the terrorist organisations and their networks.
- The ADMM-Plus is a platform comprising 10-nation ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and its eight dialogue partners — India, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
- Interchange fee per transaction changed from Rs 15 to Rs 17 for financial transactions while from Rs 5 to Rs 6 for non-financial transactions in effect from August 1, 2021.
- Without naming China or any other country, Singh said new challenges to international peace and security are emerging and they cannot be addressed with outdated systems that were designed to deal with “trials of the past”.
- A multi-stakeholder approach, guided by democratic values, with a governance structure that is open and inclusive and a secure, open and stable internet with due respect to sovereignty of countries, would drive the future of cyberspace,” he said.
- The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi in 2010.
- The defence ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation to pursue under the new mechanism, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations.
Q- Consider the following statement related to Biden-Putin Summit.
1) Russian President also strongly opposed the idea of Ukraine joining NATO, saying it was “nothing to discuss here.”
2) Discussions also included tense talks over the imprisoned Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. Putin said that the man knew he was breaking the law of Russia
3) The leaders also discussed regarding two US Marine veterans jailed in Russia, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan.
Which of the following statement is or are correct?
a) 1 & 2
b) 2 only
c) All of the above
d) None of the above
- US President Joe Biden reached Geneva before his first summit with Vladimir Putin amid the escalation of tension between Russia and USA in recent years.
- Joe Biden flew to Geneva after mending relations with Washington’s closest allies during NATO and G7 summits in Brussels and Britain.
- This will be first meeting between US and Russia since 2018, when Putin met Donald Trump in Helsinki.
- The summit will take place at La Grange villa and its surrounding park.
- Relationship between United States and Russia is among most critical bilateral relationships worldwide.
- Both the countries have shared interests in diverse set of areas including nuclear security & non-proliferation, countering terrorism & violent extremism, regional security in Europe & Eurasia, and managing upheaval in greater Middle East.
- Russia is also an important partner in U.S. efforts to combat climate change and space exploration.
What are the concerns?
- United States is critical to Russia as they foil and partner in their efforts to come at global centre stage.
- Bilateral relations have been rotating between periods of cooperation and confrontation for more than two decades.
- However, tensions related to conflicts in Ukraine and Syria are troubling the relation.
Q- Consider the following statements regarding Google has extended card tokenization.
- Card tokenization is a feature which lets users make debit or credit card payments.
- It will allow users to scan and pay at about 1.5 million Bharat QR enabled merchants.
- It was established as an autonomous organization under the UN Statute.
- It inhibits the complete use of nuclear technologies and nuclear energy.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1, 2 b) 1, 2, 3
c) 2, 3, 4 d) 1, 2, 4
Google Pay expands Cards Tokenization
- Google has extended card tokenization by bringing in more banks for card on the Google Pay app.
What is card tokenization?
- Card tokenization is a feature which lets users make debit or credit card payments through a secure digital token which is attached to their phone.
- It does not require to physically share credit or debit card details.
- Currently, this feature can be availed at about 2.5 million Visa merchant locations.
- With latest extension, it will allow users to scan and pay at about 1.5 million Bharat QR enabled merchants.
Features of Card tokenization
- This feature let users with Near-field communication (NFC) capable devices or phones to make contactless payments.
- Users would be able to pay their bills and recharge their numbers using credit cards.
- This feature also works with online merchants and provides seamless OTP experiences without redirecting to 3D Secure sites.
Which banks were using this feature? –Google Pay had earlier rolled out the feature of card tokenization with State bank of India cards, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Axis Bank.
Which banks have been added now?
- Google Pay has now added SBI, IndusInd Bank & Federal Bank and Credit cards of IndusInd Bank & HSBC India in the list to use tokenization feature.
Q- Consider the following statements regarding Indemnity.
- Once the government of India grants indemnity to the vaccine manufacturer, and if that vaccine is perceived to have caused death or any lasting damage to a recipient, then any claim of compensation arising from it will have to be met by the vaccine manufacturer.
- The law on drugs in India does not have the provision for indemnity related to the grant of approval for any new drug or vaccine in the country.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 only b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2
Pfizer, Moderna, Serum & the indemnity issue; what is it and what it means for India?
- India is currently facing an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines with the Centre receiving brickbats for its vaccination policy, which fell short when the country was hit by a severe second wave of COVID-19 in March-April.
- Although the government halted the exports of COVID-19 vaccine shots earlier given under its “Vaccine Maitri” programme and scrambled to procure more jabs to address the shortage, it is also likely to grant indemnity to Pfizer, Moderna, and now Serum Institute of India (SII) to expedite the vaccination process in the country.
- Serum Institute became the latest pharma company to ask for indemnity from liability, stating that all vaccine manufacturers, whether Indian or foreign, should be protected against legal suits for any severe side effects. The Centre has thus far not provided indemnity to any COVID vaccine maker.
What is indemnity?
- Indemnity means protection against a loss or any other financial stress. In the given context, indemnity is like granting a concessional request of legal defence from any claims associated with the use of companies’ COVID-19 vaccines in India.
- The Centre has thus far not provided indemnity to any COVID vaccine maker.
- The clause, commonly used in insurance contracts, means if the Centre grants an indemnity to a vaccine manufacturer to roll out its jabs in the country, the government, and not the company, would be liable to indemnify any citizen who alleges to have side effects after taking the dose.
Who has asked for indemnity?
- The indemnity clause is currently a thorny issue between the Centre and the foreign pharma majors, such as Pfizer and Moderna, which have said that they will export their COVID-19 vaccines to India only if the company is guarded against legal cases.
- The Serum Institute too became the latest pharma company to ask the Centre to ensure protection against liability. Pfizer and Moderna, which are among the best COVID-19 vaccine shots in the international market being over 90 per cent effective, have been approved by over 40 countries, comprising the UK and the US.
What’s the Centre’s stand on the indemnity clause?
- The government is reportedly likely to grant indemnity to foreign drugmakers like Pfizer and Moderna to hasten approvals of the coronavirus vaccines in India. This is along the lines of the approach adopted by the US and other countries that have rolled out their COVID-19 vaccines.
- Like other nations, the Indian government is also expected to grant indemnity to these companies if they seek drug regulator’s nod for the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA).
- Meanwhile, in another development that would bolster the availability of vaccines, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has waived the requirement of testing every batch of foreign-made COVID-19 vaccines by the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli and post-launch bridging trials for such firms. When will Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines be available in India?
- Several sources in the government have indicated that Pfizer has already signalled that it would be able to export some vaccine doses to India by July 2021.
- Regarding the indemnity clause, a government source in the know has stated the Centre would possibly look at rules and practices followed by other nations on granting indemnity coverage.
- “Why would India want to stop the manufacturers? If indemnity is the only hurdle, it will be seen by the government on the basis of practices followed internationally,” said the source.
- In response to India Today’s query on its ongoing discussions with the Centre, Pfizer said, “This is an ongoing discussion with the government; therefore, we are unable to confirm more.
- As of May 3, we have shipped more than 430 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine worldwide and our shipment accuracy is 99.9.
- We continue to increase manufacturing capacity to exceed 2.5 billion vaccine doses in 2021.”
- “As we have maintained all along, during this pandemic phase, across the world Pfizer will supply the COVID-19 vaccine only to central governments and supranational organisations for deployment in national immunisation programs.
- The allocation of doses and implementation plan within a country is a decision for local governments based on relevant health authority guidance,” the US-based pharma major added.
Q- International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 138 and 182, sometimes seen in news are related to-
a) Elimination of All Kinds of Discrimination Against Women
b) Maternity protection for women
c) Equal Remuneration for men and women
d) Child Labour
Human-centred COVID-19 recovery’, agree 181 countries unanimously at ILO Conference
- At the International Labour Conference (ILC), 181 countries’ delegates have unanimously adopted a global call to action for a human-centred COVID-19 recovery. This recovery prioritises the creation of decent jobs for all and addresses the inequalities caused by the crisis
- The global call to action for a human-centred COVID-19 recovery outlines a comprehensive agenda.
- It commits countries to ensure that their economic and social recovery from the crisis is “fully inclusive, sustainable and resilient”, stated the International Labour Organisation in a note.
- The first covers measures to be taken by national governments and their employer and trade union ‘social partners’, to achieve a job-rich recovery.
- This will substantially strengthen worker and social protections and supports sustainable enterprises.
- ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said, “Creating a recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient must become a top priority for public policy.
- This resolution provides a clear and comprehensive way forward that will enable countries to convert the moral and political aspiration of leaving no one behind into concrete action.”
- He added, “The effectiveness and resilience of the recovery from COVID-19 will depend heavily on how broadly-based and socially inclusive it is.
- Unless we specifically address the inequalities that have deepened during this crisis there is a very real risk that the economic and social consequences will cause long-term scarring, particularly for disproportionately-affected groups such as young people and women, and the small and microenterprises that provide most of the world’s employment.”
Q- With reference to ‘Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban)’, consider the following statements:
- It is an initiative under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- It aims to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all statutory towns.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2
Centre allocates Rs 3,410 crore to Gujarat under Jal Jeevan Mission
- The Centre has allocated a Rs 3,410-crore grant to Gujarat under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and has released its first tranche of Rs 852 crore, the Jal Shakti Ministry said on Monday.
- During 2020-21, 10.94 lakh rural households in Gujarat were provided tap water connections and in 2021-22, the state plans to provide more than 10 lakh households piped water supply, it said.
- The state has 92.92 lakh rural households, out of which now 77.21 lakh or 83 per cent households have tap water connection.
- Last year, during a review meeting with Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had assured to implement the JJM with speed and ensure tap water supply to every rural household in the state by 2022, two years before the national deadline.
- Centre releases Rs 5,968 crore to 15 states under Jal Jeevan Mission.
- “The National Jal Jeevan Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti, government of India has allocated Rs 3,410.61 crore grant to the state of Gujarat under the Jal Jeevan Mission for the year 2021-22, out of which the first tranche of Rs 852.65 crores has been released,” the ministry said. Shekhawat has approved a four-fold increase in allocation of grant to Gujarat for water supply, it said.
- The Centre’s allocation for 2019-20 was Rs 390.31 crore, which was raised to Rs 883.08 crore in 2020-21, the ministry said.
- The ‘Jal Jeevan Mission-Har Ghar Jal’ was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2019, to ensure potable tap water supply to every rural home by 2024 to improve the lives of people living in villages, especially women and girls.
- The Union Budget 2021-22 has allocated Rs 50,000 crore for this ambitious scheme.
- Out of 18,000 villages in Gujarat, in more than 6,700 villages, tap water supply to every household has been ensured.
- In 2020-21, about 5,900 villages were made ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by providing each and every home a functional tap water connection, the ministry said, adding that in five districts of the state, every rural household has tap water supply. Out of 18,000 villages in Gujarat, in more than 6,700 villages, tap water supply to every household has been ensured.
- It said as per annual action plan of the state, approved by the National Jal Jeevan Mission, another 18 districts and 6,400 more villages will have 100 per cent coverage with tap water supply.
- It is expected that in next few months, more than 12,000 villages and 23 districts of Gujarat will become ‘Har Ghar Villages’ i.e., every household with tap water supply.