Today Current Affairs: 31st May 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
The Tianzhou-2 Cargo Spacecraft: China:
China took another step towards completing the construction of its first space station by the end of next year following the launch and docking of a cargo spacecraft.
- The Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft, described by as “the delivery guy for China’s space station”, was launched on a Long March-7 rocket from the island of Hainan, and docked eight hours later with the space station’s first core module called Tianhe, or “heavenly harmony”.
- The Tianzhou-2 spacecraft carried a range of supplies, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said, and will be followed by the launch of another cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-3, and two manned missions, Shenzhou-12 and Shenzhou-13, this year, each carrying three astronauts who will spend several months in orbit.
- The Shenzhou-12 launch is slated for mid-June.
- The launch was the third landmark for China’s space programme in recent weeks.
- China landed a spacecraft on Mars on May 15 carrying its first Mars rover, Zhurong.
- The Tianhe module, which the cargo spacecraft docked with on Sunday, was launched on April 29.
Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme:
On account of the disruptions caused by the second wave of COVID 19 pandemic to businesses across various sectors of the economy, Government has further enlarged the scope of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme as under.
- ECLGS 4.0: 100% guarantee cover to loans up to Rs.2 crore to hospitals/nursing homes/clinics/medical colleges for setting up on-site oxygen generation plants, interest rate capped at 7.5%;
- Additional ECLGS assistance of up to 10% of the outstanding as of February 29, 2020, to borrowers covered under ECLGS 1.0, in tandem with restructuring as per RBI guidelines of May 05, 2021;
- The current ceiling of Rs. 500 Cr. of loan outstanding for eligibility under ECLGS 3.0 to be removed, subject to maximum additional ECLGS assistance to each borrower is limited to 40% or Rs.200 crore, whichever is lower;
Civil Aviation sector to be eligible under ECLGS 3.0:
- Validity of ECLGS extended to 30.09.2021 or till guarantees for an amount of Rs.3 lakh crore is issued.
- Disbursement under the scheme permitted up to31.12.2021.
- Detailed operational guidelines in this regard are being separately issued by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).
Monsoon Forecast: India Meteorological Department (IMD):
The arrival of the southwest monsoon over Kerala has been delayed to June 3, the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The agency had last month forecast that the onset would be on May 31.
- Skymet, a private weather forecast agency, however, said the monsoon had arrived.
- This was because two of the three criteria — as defined by the IMD — had been met.
- The criteria are
- rain-bearing westerlies being at a minimum depth and speed;
- at least 60% of the available 14 stations in Kerala and coastal Karnataka reporting rainfall of 2.5 mm or more for two consecutive days after May 10; and
- a certain degree of clouding, indicated by a parameter called ‘outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), being below 200 W/square metre.
- IMD’s own data indicated that except for the OLR, the other criteria were met.
- The IMD and Skymet have forecast a normal monsoon from June-September this year.
- To herald the onset, initial rains first occur over the south Andaman Sea and the monsoon winds then advance across the Bay of Bengal.
- Since 2005, the monsoon has arrived within the error margin of the IMD’s weather models, except in 2015.
PM CARES For Children:
The scheme has been launched for support & empowerment of Covid affected children.
- All children who have lost both parents or surviving parents or legal guardian/adoptive parents due to Covid 19 will be supported under the scheme.
Features of the scheme:
- Fixed Deposit in the name of the child: A corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age.
- School Education: For children under 10 years: Admission will be given in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.
- School Education: for children between 11-18 years: The child will be given admission to any Central Government residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya, etc.
- Support for Higher Education: The child will be assisted in obtaining an education loan for Professional courses / Higher Education in India as per the existing Education Loan norms.
- Health Insurance: All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS):
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is attempting to mediate to solve the crisis in Mali.
- Since 1960, when Mali gained independence from France, there have been five coups — and only one peaceful transition from one democratically elected president to another.
- Recent coup: Nine months ago, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was overthrown in the wake of mass anti-government protests. Last week, the announcement of a new cabinet was made that excluded two key military leaders. Following this, the army has detained the President and the Prime Minister.
- It is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
- Established in 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos.
- The goal of ECOWAS is to achieve “collective self-sufficiency” for its member states by creating a single large trade bloc by building a full economic and trading union.
- It also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region.
- Considered one of the pillar regional blocs of the continent-wide African Economic Community (AEC).
- ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:
- The West African Economic and Monetary Union is an organization of eight, mainly French-speaking states.
- The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries.
Centre Extends Powers Related To Citizenship Application:
The Central Government issued a notification granting powers related to citizenship applications under existing rules to authorities of five states.
- The order has been issued under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 2009 and not under the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 since its rules have not yet been framed.
- In accordance with section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 the central government directed that powers exercisable by it for registration as a citizen of India, or for grant of certificate of naturalization shall also be exercisable by the collector (District Magistrate), within whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinarily resident.
- Section 16 of the Citizenship Act 1955: The Central Government may, by order, direct that any power which is conferred on it can be exercisable also by such officer or authority as may be so specified.
- However, powers mentioned in section 10 (certificate of registration to be granted to persons registered) and section 18 (a form of a certificate of naturalization) can be exercised by the central government only.
- It also granted similar powers to the Home Secretaries of Haryana and Punjab, except for Faridabad and Jalandhar.
States and Districts:
- Powers were extended to 13 districts office states which are:
- Gujarat- Morbi, Rajkot, Patan, and Vadodara.
- Chhattisgarh- Durg and Balodabazar.
- Rajasthan- Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer, and Sirohi.
- Haryana- Faridabad.
- Punjab- Jalandhar.
Statehood Day of Goa: 30th May:
On the Statehood Day of Goa (30th May), the Prime Minister greeted the people of the state.
- Goa is located on the southwestern coast of India within the region known as the Konkan and geographically separated from the Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats.
- Capital: Panji.
- Official Language: Konkani is one of the 22 languages from the Eight Schedule.
- It is surrounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.
- As India gained independence on 15th August 1947, it requested the Portuguese to cede their territories. However, the Portuguese refused.
- In 1961, the Indian Government launched Operation Vijay and annexed Daman and Diu islands and Goa with the Indian mainland.
- Goa Liberation Day is observed on 19th December every year in India.
- It can be noted that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to come to India (1498) and were also the last to leave this land (1961).
- On 30th May 1987, the territory was split and Goa was formed. Daman and Diu remained Union Territory.
Chief Secretary Transfer Issue:
The Central Government may initiate disciplinary action against the West Bengal Chief Secretary after he failed to report to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in New Delhi as ordered earlier.
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the “placement of services” of the Chief Secretary, as per provisions Rule 6(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) Rules, 1954.
- The ACC is headed by the Prime Minister, and the Home Minister is the other member.
- Rule 16(1) of DCRB (Death-cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules says that “a member of the Service dealing with budget work or working as a full-time member of a Committee may be given the extension of service for three months, with the prior approval of the Central Government”.
- For an officer posted as Chief Secretary of a state, this extension can be for six months.
- In normal practice, the Centre asks every year for an “offer list” of officers of the All India Services (IAS, IPS, and Indian Forest Service) willing to go on central deputation, after which it selects officers from that list.
- Rule 6(1) of the IAS Cadre Rules says an officer may, “with the concurrence of the State Governments concerned and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government…”
- It says “in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.”
The ‘Bell of Faith’ scheme: Kerala:
The ‘Bell of Faith’ scheme will now be implemented for senior citizens staying alone in villages.
- Previously, this scheme was successfully implemented in a number of urban households in Kerala.
- It is a safety project conceived under Kerala’s Community Policing Scheme.
- It will help elderly citizens attract the attention of their neighbors using a loud, remote-controlled alarm in emergencies.
- It has been under implementation in Kerala since 2018.
- It sets an example for community participation to ensure the well-being and safety of the elderly.
- It can be of great support for the aged during the COVID-19 pandemic as many live in fear for their health.
The Suryakiran aerobatic display team of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has enthralled crowds across the country with their hair-raising maneuvers with their aircraft in red and white, has just completed 25 years.
- One of the few nine aircraft display teams in the world and the only one in Asia, the team has carried out over 600 displays across the country and Southeast Asia.
- “Suryakiran”, which means ‘rays of the sun’ in Sanskrit, was raised on May 27, 1996, at the IAF airbase in Bidar, Karnataka, with six Kiran MkII trainer aircraft.
- It carried out its first display on September 15, 1996, for the golden jubilee celebrations of the Air Force Administrative College in Coimbatore.
- However, the team was disbanded in 2011 after Aero India show due to a shortage of training aircraft in the IAF and was resurrected in 2015 on advanced jet trainer Hawk Mk-132 aircraft.
- This team, which has been the brand ambassador of the IAF, is also the 52 squadron of the IAF and is the youngest fighter squadron with the motto “Always the Best”.
Herero And Nama people:
Germany for the first time has recognized that it committed genocide against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia during its colonial rule over a century ago, and promised financial support of over a billion euros to the Southern African nation.
- Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of men, women, and children from the Herero and Nama tribes after they rebelled against colonial rule in what was then called German Southwest Africa.
- Between 1884 and 1890, Germany formally colonized parts of present-day Namibia — a territory that was roughly twice as large as the European nation, but not as densely populated. By 1903, around 3,000 German settlers had occupied the central high ground of the region.
- Tensions quickly rose as local tribes saw the German settlers as a threat to their land and resources. The conflict reached a boiling point in 1904, when the Herero nation — a primarily pastoral community — rebelled against the Germans, and were closely followed by the Nama tribe.
- During the Battle of Waterberg, around 80,000 Herero, including women and children, were chased across the desert by German troops. A mere 15,000 survived.
- The Germans continued to rule the region till 1915, following which it fell under South Africa’s control for 75 years. Namibia finally gained independence in 1990.
- The atrocities committed to what was then known as German southwest Africa have been described by some historians as the first genocide of the 20th century.
Second Floating Jetty: Union Minister For Ports, Shipping & Waterway:
Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways inaugurated the second floating jetty at Old Goa.
- The jetty will offer safe, hassle-free transportation to tourists.
- The Minister lauded the work done by the Government of Goa in making the tourism sector a growth engine of the state.
- The Government of India has approved the setting up of two Concrete floating jetties on River Mondovi (NW-68) to connect Old Goa and Panjim.
- This is the second floating jetty constructed on River Mondovi (NW-68).
- Earlier, the first jetty located at Captain of Ports, Panjim Goa was inaugurated in February 2020 at Panjim.
- Concrete floating jetties have many advantages over the fixed jetties.
- Their price is approximately 1/5th of the price of a fixed jetty.
- Similarly, they are quicker to build and install, easier to use.
- The designed life of a floating jetty is up to 50 years.
- Also, being floating structures they don’t need CRZ clearances.
- They can be increased in size or reduced as per changes in users’ requirements or the changes in the jetty site’s hydrographic profile.
International Space Station: Research purposes:
On June 3, NASA will send 128 glow-in-the-dark baby squids and some 5,000 tardigrades (also called water bears) to the International Space Station for research purposes.
- The water animals, which will be launched aboard SpaceX’s 22nd cargo resupply mission to the ISS, are part of experiments that could help scientists design improved protective measures for astronauts going on long-duration space travel.
- One of these studies involves looking at how the water bears– tiny animals (around 1mm long) that can adapt to extreme conditions on Earth, including high pressure, temperature, and radiation– would behave in a spaceflight environment.
- Scientists also want to look at how microgravity conditions affect the relationship between the bobtail squid –which are also tiny (3 mm long)– and beneficial microbes, as part of a study called UMAMI, short for Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions.
- The International Space Station (ISS) has been in space since 1998 and has been known for the exemplary cooperation between the five participating space agencies that run it: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).