Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 20 October 2021

1. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

204th birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was recently observed. He was born on October 17, 1817

About SSA Khan.

  1. Sir Syed Ahmed khan was a teacher, politician, social reformer.
  2. He was also the founder of Aligarh Muslim University.
  3. Sir Syed Ahmed khan has often been criticized as the father of Two nation theory which led to the formation of two separate nations i.e. India and Pakistan.
  4. It is erroneously believed by some historians that the Hindu-Muslim divide in India was the by-product of the two-nation theory which supposedly had its origin in Sir Syed’s ideology.
  5. Nationalism” as a consciously-held idea was a 20th-century phenomenon even in Europe, from where it was imported to India.
  6. Eminent historian Anil Seal has rightly pointed out that during Sir Syed’s times, “there were no two nations, there was not even one nation, there was no nation at all.”
  7. Till 1898, when Sir Syed breathed his last, there was nothing like an Indian “nation”, nor did the founding fathers of the Indian National Congress make such a claim.
  8. Sir Octavian Hume, the founder of the Congress, talked of “a congeries of communities”, not a nation.
  9. Sir Syed’s concept of nation was inextricably woven with secular ideals.
  10. Sir Syed believed in multiculturalism under which all cultural communities must be entitled to equal status under the state.

2. Aadhaar Hackathon 2021

  1. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is set to host the ‘Aadhaar Hackathon 2021’ to identify young innovators in the field of information technology.
  2. This is the first-ever event being conducted by the Aadhaar team.
  3. UIDAI is reaching out to all engineering colleges to solve these challenges through innovative technological solutions.
  4. Aadhaar Hackathon 2021 is themed around two topics:
    • Enrolment and Update: It mainly covers some of the real-life challenges being faced by the residents while updating their addresses.
    • Identity and Authentication: The UIDAI is soliciting innovative solutions to prove the identity without sharing the Aadhaar number or any demographic information under this theme

3. Energy Map of India

  1. NITI Aayog launched a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based Energy Map of India.
  2. NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a with the support of the Energy Ministries of the Government of India.
  3. The GIS map provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country which enables visualization of energy installations.
  4. It is a unique effort aimed at integrating energy data scattered across multiple organizations and presenting it in a consolidated, visually appealing graphical manner.
  5. It leverages the latest advancements in web-GIS technology and open-source software to make it interactive and user-friendly.
  6. The Geospatial Energy Map of India will be useful in planning and making investment decisions.
  7. It will also aid in disaster management using available energy assets.

4. Allium negianum

  1. A plant discovered in Uttarakhand in 2019 has been newly confirmed as a new species of Allium
  2. It is a genus that includes many staple foods such as onion and garlic, among 1,100 species worldwide.
  3. It is named Allium negianum, in the border area of Malari village, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
  4. It grows at 3,000 to 4,800 m above sea level and can be found along open grassy meadows, sandy soils along rivers, and streams forming in snow pasture lands along alpine meadows, where the melting snow helps carry its seeds to more favorable areas.
  5.  With a narrow distribution, this newly described species is restricted to the region of the western Himalayas
  6. It hasn’t yet been reported from anywhere else in the world.

5. DLX1 Protein

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, have discovered that a particular gene (DLX1) plays an important role in the development of jaws, skeletons, and interneurons in the brain has an important role to play in the growth and development of prostate cancer.

Insights

  1. The DLX1 protein is found at elevated levels in prostate cancer patients, the reason why the DLX1 protein has been used as a urine-based biomarker.
  2. Using small molecules as inhibitors, the researchers have shown in mice a new therapeutic strategy to treat people with DLX1-positive prostate cancer.
  3. First, the researchers found around 60% of prostate cancer tissues have higher levels of DLX1 protein.
  4. And when the team genetically ablated the DLX1 gene that produces the protein, the ability of cancer cells to grow, develop and spread to other parts of the body was compromised.

6. Asiatic Wild Dog

A recent study has identified 114 priority talukas/tehsils where habitats can be consolidated to enhance population connectivity for the dhole or Asiatic Wild Dog

Insights

  1. The dhole is a canid native to Central, South, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
  2. India perhaps supports the largest number of dholes, with key populations found in three landscapes — Western Ghats, Central India, and Northeast India.
  3. IUCN Status: Endangered
  4. Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems.
  5. Besides the tiger, the dhole is the only large carnivore in India that is under IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category.
  6. Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution due to livestock predation, and disease transfer from domestic dogs.
  7. In 2014, the Indian government sanctioned its first dhole conservation breeding center at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) in Visakhapatnam.
  8. In India, the dhole is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

7. Indo-US Economic and Financial Partnership

The eighth meeting of the Indo-US Economic and Financial Partnership has focussed inter alia on important issues like money laundering, illicit finance, and terror funding extremely important in the present context.

Significance of this Indo-US meet

  1. The joint US-India Economic and Financial Partnership statement reflected that there was satisfaction with the economic reforms adopted by India.
  2. There had been no mention of the need for economic reforms.
  3. In the past, in 2016 and 2019, the statements had focussed on the need for reforms.
  4. This is a testimony that economic reforms introduced in the past year have made a positive impact.
  5. Important among them are India’s acceptance of the plans for a minimum global tax for corporations and the removal of retrospective tax levied on several companies.
  6. The exchange-related issues and import duties were not raised like in earlier times.
  7. The statement noted that India had made significant progress in recent years to resolve bilateral tax disputes between the two countries
  8. India had moved to provide certainty to taxpayers through the existing Mutual Agreement Procedure and bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement relationship.
  9. Significantly, the US has replaced China as India’s trade partner in the first nine months of this year.
  10. The meeting emphasized climate finance, reflecting their respective commitments to driving urgent progress in combating climate change and the critical role of climate finance in achieving this shared global goal.
  11. Both sides pledged to boost cooperation in stemming illicit finance, money laundering, and terror funding and highlighted the need for effective implementation of the standards stipulated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
  12. This is extremely important as terror funding money laundering and illicit fiancé are providing sustenance to terrorism and other economic crimes

8. International Monetary and Financial Committee

  1. International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting was held recently.
  2. The meeting was attended by Governors/Alternate Governors representing 190-member countries of the IMF.
  3. The discussions at the meeting centered on “vaccinate, calibrate and accelerate” which is the theme of the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda.
  4. The members of the IMFC elaborated the actions and measures taken by member countries to combat COVID-19 and facilitate economic recovery.

About IMF

  1. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 member countries, each of which has representation on the IMF’s executive board in proportion to its financial importance, so that the most powerful countries in the global economy have the most voting power.
  2. The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944.
  3. The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  4. Countries were not eligible for membership in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) unless they were members of the IMF.

Quotas

  1. IMF funds come from two major sources – Quota and Loans.
  2. Quotas which are pooled funds of member nations, generate most IMF funds.
  3. The size of a member’s quota depends on its economic and financial importance in the world.
  4. Nations with larger economic importance have larger quotas.
  5. The quotas are increased periodically as a means of boosting the IMF resources in the form of Special Drawing Rights.

SDR

  1. Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  2. SDR is not a currency, instead represents a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
  3. The value of an SDR is defined by a weighted currency basket of four major currencies – the US Dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen.
  4. The central bank of member countries held SDR with IMF which can be used by them to access funds from IMF in case of financial crises in their domestic market.

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9. World Food Day

  1. Every year World Food Day is observed on October 16 and is celebrated to raise awareness on the issue of hunger and healthy food habits for all.
  2.  It marks the founding day of the Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO).
  3.  World Food Day is celebrated by organizations like the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agriculture Development.
  4. But this year the day will be jointly be led by organizations like FAO, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Food Programme (WFP).
  5. According to the United Nations, this year’s events will take place in around 150 countries across the world with multiple partners and government involvement.
  6. The theme for World Food Day 2021 is “Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow”.
  7. The theme of this year is based on appreciating the individuals who have contributed to creating sustainable surroundings where no one is left hungry.
  8.  Last year’s theme was based on the suffering of millions of people during the coronavirus pandemic