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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 20th April 2022

Today Current Affairs: 20th April 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre On Quantum Computing:

India and Finland announced the decision to establish an Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing.

  • Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and visiting Finland Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintila, who is currently in India, announced this. An MoU for this was also signed.
  • The Indian side has identified three premier institutes IIT, Madras, IISER, Pune and C-DAC, Pune for Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing.
  • The move comes in the wake of the decision taken in the last Joint Committee meeting held in November 2020 to initiate cooperation in new emerging areas like 5G; Quantum Computing and Sustainability by involving, Academia, Industries and Start-ups of the two countries.
  • Referring to the Virtual Summit last March between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Finland Ms. Sanna Marin, Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that Finland’s leading role in clean and green technologies can help India’s drive towards sustainable development.
  • He also shared that both India and Finland are consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty and have active stations in Antarctica.
  • Finland would be hosting Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in 2023 and India in 2024.
  • The visiting Finnish Minister Lintila assured that Finnish companies will partner with India for Carbon-neutral technologies and enhance cooperation for Sustainability in Climate Change.

Invictus Games 2022:

The 2022 edition of the Invictus Games opened on April 16 night in The Hague, Netherlands, where Prince Harry paid tribute to the Ukrainian team. The Games are scheduled to run until April 22.

  • The first edition of the Games was held in London in 2014, and subsequent competitions were organised in Orlando, US (2016), Toronto, Canada (2017), and Sydney, Australia (2018).
  • The 2023 edition will be held in Dusseldorf, Germany.
  • The Games are an international sporting competition similar to the Paralympics, but meant for wounded, injured, and sick military service personnel and war veterans.
  • The word ‘invictus’ means ‘unconquered’.
  • The Games draw inspiration from the British poet William Ernest Henley’s 1875 poem ‘Invictus’.
  • The Invictus Games are the brainchild of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, who attended the Warrior Games in the United States in 2013, and wanted to start something similar in London.

World’s Highest Tunnel At Shinku La Pass:

The world’s highest tunnel will be constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at Shinku La Pass at 16,580 feet. This tunnel will be connecting Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh.

  • The construction of this tunnel by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) will begin by July 2022.
  • This tunnel will be connecting Ladakh’s Zanskar Valley to Himachal Pradesh.
  • Project Yojak has been set up by the central government to execute this ambitious project.
  • By the year 2025, the construction of this tunnel will be completed.
  • The tunnel’s south portal will be at Shinku La.
  • The tunnel’s north portal will be at Lakhang.
  • This tunnel will help in boosting the economy of the Zanskar Valley as the travel time between Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh will be reduced after this tunnel is opened.

State of the Economy Report : RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its ‘State of the economy’ report cautioned that the surging commodity prices are causing inflation risks, especially through the surging of imports.

  • The ever-growing widening of current and trade account deficits along with the portfolio capital outflows is putting pressure on external sustainability despite the fact that the underlying fundamentals and the stock of international reserves are providing buffers.
  • In March, retail inflation has gone up to 6.95 percent.
  • The inflation in food and beverages rose to 7.5 percent in March from 5.9 percent in February was the main driver of retail inflation.
  • According to the report, the country is also reeling from the global crisis caused due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Due to the war and related retaliatory sanctions are causing a rise in inflation.
  • The repo rate was kept unchanged by the RBI in the April monetary policy review but it has initiated the normalization process of the accommodative policy.

World’s First “Crypto-Backed” Payment Card:

Crypto lender Nexo has collaborated with Mastercard to launch the world’s first “crypto-backed” payment card.

  • This launch has signaled the move by financial and crypto networks to collaborate as digital assets are becoming more mainstream.
  • Initially, the card will be available in selected European countries.
  • It will allow users to spend without selling their digital assets like bitcoin, as the digital assets are used as collateral to back the granted credit.
  • The crypto-backed credit card can be used at 92 million merchants across the world wherever Mastercard is accepted.
  • Through this card the investors will be able to spend up to 90 percent of the fiat value of the crypto assets that they own.
  • The card requires no monthly, minimum repayments, or inactivity fees. Also, this card has no FX fees for up to 20,000 euros per month.
  • Also, the card has no restrictions on the spending limit of a customer and they can also withdraw from the open credit line.
  • The interest on this card is only paid on the amount of credit that has been used by the customer.
  • The customers who will be maintaining a loan-to-value ratio of 20 percent or less will be charged 0 percent interest.
  • DiPocket an electronic money firm is the card issuer of the Nexo credit card.

Reservation In Promotion In Government Offices:

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked all departments of the Central Government to collect the data on inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes before implementing the policy of reservation in promotion in government offices.

  • The DoPT order has also specified conditions (Based on the Supreme Court verdict) to be met while implementing the policy of reservation in promotions.
  • The conditions include:
    • Collection of quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs.
    • Application of this data to each cadre separately.
  • If a roster exists, the unit for operation of the roster would be the cadre or which the quantifiable data would have to be collected and applied in regard to the filling up of the vacancies in the roster.
  • In January 2022, the Supreme Court held that collection of data to determine the inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in Government jobs is necessary to grant reservation in promotions.
  • The Court held that “cadre” and not class, group or the entire service as the unit for the purpose of collection of quantifiable data for giving promotion quotas.
  • However, the Court has left it to the States and Central Government to assess the inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs to promotional posts taking into account relevant factors.

Strikes In The Gaza Strip:

Israel has carried out strikes in the Gaza Strip after a rocket was fired from the Palestinian enclave into Israel.

  • The armed wing of Hamas have announced that it fired on Israeli planes.
  • Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has waged war on Israel since the group’s 1987 founding, most notably through suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
  • It seeks to replace Israel with a Palestinian state. It also governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority.
  • Gaza has been under a tightened Israeli blockade since 2007 in which most basic goods still enter the region under highly restricted measures.
  • The Gaza Strip is an entirely artificial creation that emerged in 1948 when roughly three-fourths of Palestine’s Arab population was displaced, in some cases expelled, during the course of Israel’s creation. And most of the refugees, they were sort of scattered across the region in neighboring countries like Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
  • Some went to the West Bank, which came under Jordanian rule after 1948.
  • And a very large number went to the Gaza Strip, which is this tiny little coastal strip between Egypt and what is now Israel.
  • Today, the population of Gaza, about 70% of Gaza’s population are refugees.
  • Hamas forcibly took control over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Shortly thereafter, the Israelis imposed a complete closure on Gaza’s borders. They declared Gaza to be an enemy entity. Of course, Gaza is not a state.
  • Hamas, of course, is viewed by Israel and by much of the international community as a terrorist organization, including the United States, for their history of attacks on civilians and so forth.
  • Israel still occupies the West Bank, and although it pulled out of Gaza the UN still regards that piece of land as part of occupied territory.
  • Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
  • The US is one of only a handful of countries to recognise Israel’s claim to the whole of the city.

Global Centre For Traditional Medicine: Gujarat

The groundbreaking ceremony was performed for the first-of-its-kind World Health Organization (WHO) Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

  • Additionally, the Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit will be held later this month in Gandhinagar which is aimed at increasing investments and showcase innovations in the field of traditional medicine.
  • It is a unique attempt to foster long-lasting partnerships, boost exports and nurture a sustainable ecosystem.
  • According to the WHO, traditional medicine is the total sum of the “knowledge, skills and practises indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness”.
  • Its reach encompasses ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal mixtures as well as modern medicines.

Traditional Medicine in India:

  • In India, it is often defined as including practices and therapies — such as yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha.
  • These therapies and practices have been part of Indian tradition historically as well as others — such as homoeopathy — that became part of Indian tradition over the years.
  • Ayurveda and yoga are practised widely across the country.
  • The Siddha system is followed predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
  • The Sowa-Rigpa system is practised mainly in Leh-Ladakh and Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul & Spiti.

Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme:

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has relaxed various procedures under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme in order to reduce compliance requirements and facilitate ease of doing business.

  • EPCG Scheme was launched in the 1990s to facilitate import of capital goods with the aim to enhance the production quality of goods and services, thereby, increasing India’s international manufacturing competitiveness.
  • Under the scheme, manufacturers can import capital goods for pre-production, production and post-production goods without attracting any customs duty on them.
  • Second-hand capital goods may also be imported without any restriction on age under the EPCG Scheme.
  • The exemption from paying the obligation of customs duty on the import of capital goods is subject to fulfilment of an export value equivalent to 6 times of duty saved on the importation of such capital goods within 6 years from the date of issuance of the authorization.
  • This would mean that the importer (being export-oriented) needs to attract earnings in foreign currency which equals 600% of the customs duty saved in domestic currency, within 6 years of availing benefits of the Scheme.

Coverage:

  • Manufacturer exporters with or without supporting manufacturer(s),
  • Merchant exporters tied to supporting manufacturer(s) and,
  • Service Providers including Common Service Providers (CSP).

New Norms:

  • Imports of capital goods are allowed duty free, subject to an export obligation.
  • The authorisation holder (or exporter) under the scheme has to export finished goods worth six times of the actual duty saved in value terms in six years.
  • Requests for export obligation extension should be made within six months of expiry instead of the earlier prescribed period of 90 days.
  • However, applications made after six months and up to six years are subject to a late fee of Rs 10,000 per authorisation.
  • According to the changes, requests for block-wise export obligation extension should be made within six months of expiry.
  • However, applications made after six months and up to six years will entail a late fee of Rs 10,000 per authorisation.
  • The facility to pay customs duty through scrips MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) /Remission of Duties or Taxes On Export Product (RoDTEP) / RoSCTL (Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies) for default under EPCG has been withdrawn.

Guru Tegh Bahadur:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the 400th Parkash Purab of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at the Red Fort in New Delhi on 21st of April, 2022.

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 – 1675) was the ninth of ten Sikh Gurus and the leader of Sikhs from 1665 until his beheading in 1675.
  • He was born in Amritsar, Punjab, India in 1621 and was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru.
  • His 115 hymns are included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the main text of Sikhism.
  • He was originally named Tyag Mal but was later renamed Tegh Bahadur after his gallantry and bravery in the wars against the Mughal forces.
  • He built the city of Anandpur Sahib.
  • Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed on the orders of Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, in Delhi.
  • Sikh holy premises Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of Guru Tegh Bahadur respectively.

Lieutenant General Manoj Pande : Chief Of Indian Army

Lieutenant General Manoj Pande has been appointed as the next Chief of Indian Army.

  • The 29th Army Chief will be the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to become the Chief of Army Staff succeeding General Manoj Mukund Naravane who is scheduled to complete his 28-month tenure on 30th of April.
  • An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Lieutenant General Pande was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers in December 1982.
  • General Manoj Pande commanded an engineer regiment during Operation Parakram in the Pallanwala sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command before he took charge of the Eastern Command.

Semicon India-2022:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first ever Semicon India-2022 Conference on 29th of April in Bengaluru.

  • Semicon India-2022 Conference will be organised by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology from 29th of April to 1st of May around theme of – Design and Manufacture in India, for the World: Making India a Semiconductor Nation.
  • Semicon India – 2022 aims to make India a significant player in Global Semiconductor value chain.
  • Semicon India-2022 conference will attract best minds from across the world from semiconductor industry, research and academia and will act as a big step in fulfilling PM’s vision on making India a global hub for electronics manufacturing and Semiconductor industry.

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