Today Current Affairs: 23rd April 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Regulatory Framework For Special Purpose Acquisition Companies:
The government is reportedly considering a regulatory framework for special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
- An SPAC, or a blank-cheque company, is an entity specifically set up with the objective of acquiring a firm in a particular sector.
- An SPAC aims to raise money in an initial public offering (IPO) without any operations or revenues.
- The money that is raised from the public is kept in an escrow account, which can be accessed while making the acquisition.
- If the acquisition is not made within two years of the IPO, the SPAC is delisted and the money is returned to the investors.
- While SPACs are essentially shell companies, a key factor that makes them attractive to investors are the people who sponsor them.
- Globally, prominent names have participated in SPACs.
- In March last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investor alert on SPACs, cautioning investors “not to make investment decisions related to SPACs based solely on celebrity involvement”.
- There may be lesser returns for retail investors post-merger.
- Certain clauses could potentially prevent investors from getting their monies back.
- Of the 1,145 IPOs by blank-cheque companies since 2009, 248 happened in 2020, 613 in 2021, and 58 in 2022 so far.
- The gross proceeds raised by SPACs amounted to over $83 billion in 2020 and $162 billion in 2021.
- The number for 2022 has crossed $10 billion already.
NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission:
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America to jointly realise a satellite mission named ‘NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)’ for scientific studies of Earth.
- The NISAR mission is scheduled for launch in 2023.
- NISAR is optimised for studying hazards and global environmental change and can help manage natural resources better and provide information to scientists to better understand the effects and pace of climate change.
- It will scan the globe every 12 days over the course of its three-year mission of imaging the Earth’s land, ice sheets and sea ice to give an “unprecedented” view of the planet.
- It will detect movements of the planet’s surface as small as 0.4 inches over areas about half the size of a tennis court.
- NASA will provide one of the radars for the satellite, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers and a payload data subsystem.
- ISRO will provide the spacecraft bus, the second type of radar (called the S-band radar), the launch vehicle and associated launch services.
- NISAR will be equipped with the largest reflector antenna ever launched by NASA and its primary goals include tracking subtle changes in the Earth’s surface, spotting warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions, helping to monitor groundwater supplies and tracking the rate at which ice sheets are melting.
- The name NISAR is short for NASA-ISRO-SAR. SAR here refers to the synthetic aperture radar that NASA will use to measure changes in the surface of the Earth.
- Essentially, SAR refers to a technique for producing high-resolution images.
- Because of the precision, the radar can penetrate clouds and darkness, which means that it can collect data day and night in any weather.
Researchers have said that there might be an abundance of water pockets beneath formations called double ridges on Jupiter’s moons Europa.
- Europa’s surface is mostly solid water ice.
- Double ridges are the formations which are most common on Europa’s surface and are similar to those seen on Earth’s Greenland ice sheet.
- Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon and its diameter is about one-quarter that of the Earth.
- Europa has a very thin oxygen atmosphere.
- Interestingly, while its diameter is less than the Earth’s, Europa probably contains twice the amount of the water in all of the Earth’s oceans.
- NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024. The module will orbit Jupiter and conduct multiple close flybys to Europa to gather data on the moon’s atmosphere, surface and its interior.
On 22nd April 2022, the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day was celebrated. Earth Day is an international event celebrated around the world to pledge support for environmental protection.
- The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest In our Planet”.
- Earth Day was first observed in 1970 when 20 million took to the streets to protest environmental degradation on the call of US Senator Gaylord Nelson.
- The event was triggered by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, as well as other issues such as smog and polluted rivers.
- In 2009, the United Nations designated 22nd April as ‘International Mother Earth Day.
- Earth Day is now globally coordinated by EARTHDAY.ORG, which is a non-profit organization. It was formerly known as Earth Day Network.
- It aims to “build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and the planet”.
- It recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration (Earth Summit), to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
- The landmark Paris Agreement, which brings almost 200 countries together in setting a common target to reduce global greenhouse emissions, was also signed on Earth Day 2016.
Dr. Suman K Bery : Vice Chairperson Of NITI Aayog
Dr. Suman K Bery has been appointed new Vice Chairperson of NITI Aayog. He will take charge as Vice Chairperson of NITI Aayog from the 1st of next month.
- In an order, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions said that Vice Chairperson of NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar will be relieved from his post on 30th of this month.
- Suman K Bery had earlier served as Director-General of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in New Delhi. NCAER is one of the country’s leading independent non-profit policy research institutions.
- He also served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, National Statistical Commission and Reserve Bank of India’s Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy.
Paris Book Festival 2022:
India is designated as the Guest of Honour Country at the Paris Book Festival 2022 being organized from 21st to 24th April, 2022 as announced under the PM Narendra Modi – President Emmanuel Macron Joint Statement released in 2018 during the French President’s visit to New Delhi.
- The Paris Book Festival was inaugurated on 21st April 2022.
- India Pavilion at the Paris Book Festival was inaugurated on same day.
- The India Pavilion which has been designed by National Institute of Design (NID), houses more than 15 digital and physical exhibitions displaying over 400 books published in various Indian languages representing the works of 65 Indian publishers.
The Environment Ministry must constitute an advisory body of experts to tackle growing instances of human-animal conflict, according to a report by the Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change headed by Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh.
- The report analyses the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 tabled in the Lok Sabha in December 2021.
- The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 provides a legal framework for the protection of various species of wild animals and plants.
- While it has been amended several times, the latest set of proposed amendments by the Environment Ministry were to make it more compliant with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which India is a signatory.
- One of the clauses proposed by the Ministry was to have a Standing Committee of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) to make the functioning of the body “more purposive”
- The report recommends an advisory committee to be headed by the Chief Wildlife Warden, who can consult the committee to act appropriately.