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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 6th October 2021

Today Current Affairs: 6th October 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Nobel Prize For Physiology Or Medicine:

American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian have won the 2021 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.

David Julius

  • Julius has been studying the different compounds in chili peppers and spider venom to understand how our bodies sense heat and chemical irritants. Decoding the neuroscience of pain can help develop new targets for pain therapy.
  • In 1997, Dr. Julius and his team published a paper in Nature detailing how capsaicin, or the chemical compound in chilli peppers, causes the burning sensation.
  • They created a library of DNA fragments to understand the corresponding genes and finally discovered a new capsaicin receptor and named it TRPV1.
  • This discovery paved the way for the identification of many other temperature-sensing receptors.

Ardem Patapoutian

  • Patapoutian helped discover a novel class of sensors in our skin and internal organs that respond to cold and other mechanical stimuli.
  • Independently of one another, both David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian identified another new receptor called TRPM8, a receptor that is activated by cold.
  • A paper published in Cell in 2002 by Dr. Patapoutian and team explains that this new receptor is specifically expressed in a subset of pain-and-temperature-sensing neurons.
  • Ardem Patapoutian and his team identified a single gene, which when silenced made the cells insensitive to the poking.
  • They named this new mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1.

Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act Of 2016:

The Supreme Court has stepped in to protect homebuyers from exploitation by builders who delay transfer of possession and often redraft delivery schedules.

  • A petition was filed on the lack of a “uniform or model” form for agreements entered into among builders, agents and buyers.
  • The petition said the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act of 2016 had hardly been implemented.
  • Often hard-earned savings of ordinary citizens who aspired to have their own homes were invested. But many families became penniless waiting for a roof over their heads that the builders had promised them.

The petitioner drew court’s attention to Section 41 and 42 of the RERA:

  • Section 41 mandated the establishment of a Central Advisory Council.
  • Section 42 said the Council would ensure the implementation of the Act, drive major policy changes, assure that consumer interests were not thwarted by builders and promoters and craft the faster growth of the real estate sector.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016:

  • It is aimed at bringing in transparency and redefining the engagement between various stakeholders.

Key provisions:

  • A requirement for developers to now register projects with RERA prior to any advertisement and sale.
  • Developers are also expected to have all sanction plans approved and regulatory clearances in place prior to commencement of sale. Subsequent changes have to be approved by a majority of buyers and the regulator.
  • The Act ambitiously stipulates an electronic system, maintained on the website of RERA, where developers are expected to update on a quarterly basis the status of their projects, and submit regular audits and architectural reports.
  • It requires developers to maintain separate escrow accounts in relation to each project and deposit 70% of the collections in such an account to ensure that funds collected are utilised only for the specific project.
  • The Act also requires real estate brokers and agents to register themselves with the regulator.
  • The Act also attempts to establish an adjudicatory mechanism for the speedy redressal of disputes. RERA and the Appellate Tribunal are expected to decide on complaints within an ambitious period of 60 days.

i-Drone:

Union Health Minister launched the ICMR’s drone response and outreach in the north-east (i-Drone). The delivery model is aimed at ensuring that life-saving vaccines reach everyone.

  • This is for the first time that a ‘Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia to transport COVID vaccine over an aerial distance of 15 km in 12-15 minutes from the Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur for administration at the primary health centre.
  • The actual road distance between these locations is 26 km.
  • India is home to geographical diversities and drones can be used to deliver essentials to the last mile. This would facilitate vaccine delivery to tough and hard-to-reach terrains.
  • Currently, the drone-based delivery project has been granted permission for implementation in Manipur and Nagaland, as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The ICMR conducted an initial study in collaboration with the IIT Kanpur to test the capacity of the drones to carry and transfer vaccines safely.
  • These studies provided promising results on the basis of which the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and other regulatory authorities have granted permission to fly drones beyond the visual line of sight.

Madrid Protocol On Environmental Protection To The Antarctic Treaty:

Union Minister of Earth Sciences addressed the International Conference commemorating the signing of the Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

  • India signed the Antarctic Treaty on 19th August 1983 and soon thereafter received consultative status on 12th September 1983.
  • The Madrid Protocol was signed by India which came into force on 14th January, 1998.
  • The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in Madrid on October 4, 1991 and entered into force in 1998.
  • It designates Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”.
  • India is one of the 29 Consultative Parties to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • India is also a member of Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programme (COMNAP) and Scientific Committee of Antarctica Research (SCAR). All these representations show the significant position that India holds among the nations involved in Antarctic research.
  • India has two active research stations; Maitri (commissioned in 1989) at Schirmacher Hills, and Bharati (commissioned in 2012) at Larsemann Hills in Antarctica.
  • India has successfully launched 40 annual scientific expeditions to Antarctica till date.
  • With Himadri station in Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, Arctic, India now belongs to the elite group of nations that have multiple research stations within the Polar Regions.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB):

Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched its programme in Seychelles on 4th October, 2021.

  • India was chosen as the Partner Administration and has provided Tax Expert for this programme.
  • This programme is expected to be of 12 months duration during which India, in collaboration with the TIWB Secretariat and support of the UNDP Country Office in Mauritius and Seychelles, aims to aid Seychelles in strengthening its tax administration by transferring technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors through sharing of best audit practices.
  • The focus of the programme will be on Transfer Pricing cases of tourism and financial services sectors.
  • This programme is the sixth TIWB programme which India has supported by providing Tax Expert.

Ministry Of Coal Finalises Agenda Document For 2021- 22:

The Ministry of Coal has finalized an Agenda Document for the year 2021-22 which broadly focuses on the four areas of :

  • Coal Sector Reforms
  • Coal Transition and Sustainability
  • Institution Building
  • Futuristic Agenda.

The Agenda covers the entire gamut of areas for steering the Coal Sector into new technologies while focussing on the core competence of ensuring set production targets including the one billion tonne by 2024.

  • Coal Sector Reforms include Projects for the financial year 2021-22, Jharia Master Plan, Safety in coal mines, Coking coal Strategy, Solar Power Projects, Coal Despatch & Stocking, Coal Export in Neighbouring Countries and Strategy to boost coal production of mines allocated through auction.
  • At the same time, Coal Transition & Sustainability covers the areas of social aspects of coal transition, monetization of de-coaled land, use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in data mining/drones and Sustainability (Net Zero Emissions)
  • Institution building segment of the above Agenda contains reforms in Coal Controller Organisation (CCO), Coal Mines Provident Fund Organisation (CMPFO), upgrading Coal testing lab andstaffing quality and training issues.
  • The Futuristic Agenda include Coal to Chemical: Syn Gas, Hydrogen Gas, Liquid fuels, Chemicals and fertilizers, CIL – diversify its business and explore prospects in sunrise industries electric charging pods, EVs etc. Acquisition and mergers of similar or new business after due diligence, media campaign and close monitoring of CSR activities.

Armed Forces Products:

Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh handed over to the Armed Forces three products/systems indigenously developed by DRDO.

These are:

  • ARINC818 Video Processing and Switching Module: The module, developed for the Indian Air Force is a state-of-the-art module with high bandwidth, low latency, channel bonding, easy networking and will cater to 5th generation aircraft development programmes.
  • Sonar Performance Modelling System: Developed for the Indian Navy, it is useful for Indian Naval ships, submarines and under water surveillance stations etc.
  • Bund Blasting Device Mk-II: The device, developed for Indian Army, is used to reduce the height of Ditch-cum-Bund obstacles to enhance the mobility of mechanised infantry during wartime.

Dare To Dream:

Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh felicitated the winners of ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ Contest of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in New Delhi on October 04, 2021.

  • The Raksha Mantri gave away awards to 40 winners – 22 in Individual category and 18 in Startup category.
  • He also launched ‘Dare to Dream 3.0’ to promote innovators & startups and provide a platform for the young ignited minds in the country.
  • Dare to Dream is DRDO’s pan-India contest to promote Indian academicians, individuals and startups to develop emerging defence and aerospace technologies/systems.
  • DRDO provides technical and financial support to the winners for realisation of their ideas under the Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme.
  • He also gave away DRDO Young Scientists awards for the year 2019.
  • Sixteen DRDO scientists, under the age of 35 years, were awarded for their outstanding contribution in areas of their expertise.

The 2003 Ceasefire Agreement:

India and Pakistan troops are reported to have exchanged fire briefly along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

  • This is the first violation along the Kashmir Valley section of the de facto border since February this year.
  • India and Pakistan, in February 2021, issued a joint statement to strictly observe the 2003 Ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control(LoC).
  • The ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2003, four years after the Kargil War.
  • On November 26, 2003 the ceasefire took effect along the entire stretch of the India-Pakistan frontier.
  • It facilitated the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes, paving the way for bus and truck services linking the two Kashmirs for the first time in six decades and encouraging cross-LoC contacts, exchanges, travel, and trade.
  • The ceasefire also enabled India to complete the construction of a fence near the LoC to prevent Pakistan’s infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir, a project that it had begun a couple of decades earlier but had to suspend due to Pakistan’s artillery fire.
  • The 2003 ceasefire agreement remains a milestone as it brought peace along the LoC until 2006. Between 2003 and 2006, not a single bullet was fired by the jawans of India and Pakistan.
  • But since 2006, ceasefire violations have become the norm with increasing frequency. Recent years have seen an increasing number of ceasefire violations despite an agreement reached in 2018 to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

The Conference On Disarmament:

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is being held in Geneva.

  • At the conference, India expressed deep concern over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems that could endanger peace and security, saying the possibility of terrorists acquiring such weapons necessitates the global community to work together to address this grave danger.
  • India has said that it supports the full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and emphasises the strengthening of the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) to fulfill its important mandate.
  • The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a multilateral disarmament forum established by the international community to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements based at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Conference meets annually in three separate sessions in Geneva.
  • The Conference was first established in 1979 as the Committee on Disarmament as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.
  • It was renamed the Conference on Disarmament in 1984.
  • Formation: 1984.
  • Membership: 65 Countries.

About OPCW:

  • It is an international organization established by the Chemical Weapons Convention, 1997 to implement and enforce the terms of the non-proliferation treaty, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, or transfer of chemical weapons by signatory states.
  • The OPCW is authorized to perform inspections to verify that signatory states are complying with the convention.
  • By the 2001 Relationship Agreement between the OPCW and the United Nations, the OPCW reports on its inspections and other activities to the UN through the office of the Secretary General.
  • The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.

The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits:

  • Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
  • The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.
  • Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use.
  • Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
  • The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”

In April 2021, India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has been chosen as the external auditor by the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for a three-year term starting 2021.

  • The appointment was made through an election process at the OPCW conference recently.
  • India was also selected as the member of the executive council of the OPCW representing Asia group for another two-year term during the OPCW conference.

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