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Today’s Current Affairs Diary 16-05-2022|A Compilation of Today’s CA Related Articles

Today’s Current Affairs Diary 16-05-2022

 

Today’s Important Prelims Bits

Thomas Cup

In News: India wins first-ever Thomas Cup crown, hammer 14-time champions 3-0 in final in historic feat.

About Thomas Cup

  • Thomas Cup is an international badminton competition. The 16 teams that compete for the prestigious title are representing member nations of the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
  • The championship was started by a legendary badminton player of England Sir George Alan Thomas, who was inspired by Tennis’s Davis Cup and Football’s World Cup.
  • The first tournament was held from 1948–1949 and was conducted every three years till 1982.
  • Since 1982, it is being conducted every two years.
  • The three teams with the most titles in the championship are Indonesia, China, and Malaysia with 14, 10, and 5 titles, respectively.

Indian Shuttlers: Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, and the world number 8 doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

Key Highlights of the Tournament

  • In the first men’s singles game, Lakshya Sen beat Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 8-21, 21-17, 21-16.
  • In the first men’s doubles game, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21, 21-19.
  • Kidambi Srikanth defeated Jonatan Christie 21-19, 23-21 in straight sets in the second men’s singles match.

NATO

In News: Finland formally announced its intention of joining NATO

Significance of Finland joining NATO

  • Finland was declared independent in 1917 after more than a century of rule by Moscow. Its army twice fought off Soviet forces during the second world war before ceding about 10 per cent of its territory.
  • If Finland joins the NATO, it will be one of the quickest enlargements for the alliance.
  • Furthermore, Russia and Finland share a 1,300-km border. If Finland joins, it would double the length of the alliance’s border with Russia.
  • Russia’s second-biggest city, St. Petersburg, lies some 170 km from the border with Finland. Finland and Sweden joining the NATO will mark an overhaul and redrawing of Europe’s security map in the East.

Putin’s warning to Finland

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto that ditching neutrality and joining the NATO “would be a mistake” that could damage relations between their two countries.
  • Russia has, in parts, blamed NATO’s Eastward expansion for war with Ukraine.
  • Putin has promised a “military, technical” response if they join the alliance.

Buddha Purnima

In News: PM Modi arrives in Lumbini on Buddha Purnima

About Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima is the full moon day that commemorates the birth, enlightenment and attainment of Mahasamadhi by Gautama the Buddha. Sadhguru talks about the significance of this day and the story behind Gautama the Buddha’s enlightenment.

Significance

  • The date of Buddha Purnima is based on Asian lunisolar calendar and it usually falls on the Hindu month of Vaisakha on the full moon day. Hence, this day is also known as Vaisakhi Buddha Purnima or Vesak.
  • Buddha Purnima is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Siddhartha Gautama or Gautam Buddha.
  • Buddha Jayanti is one of the most sacred Buddhist festivals celebrated in honour of Gautama Buddha who got liberated from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
  • A philosopher, spiritual guide, religious leader and meditator, Buddha is the ninth Vishnu avatar (reincarnation), according to Hindu traditions.
  • Buddha was born around 563 BC at Lumbini in modern-day Nepal and he grew up in the kingdom of Kapilavastu, which was ruled by his father.
  • People eat ‘kheer’ this day because it is said that a woman offered Gautam Buddha a bowl of milk.
  • Normally, Buddhists from the neighbouring communities march to the pagodas in colourful procession.
  • Buddha Purnima propagates attaining a pure soul and adopting what Buddhism stands for – peace, non-violence and harmony.

 

NIIF

  • GS 3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

What is NIIF?

  • NIIF meaning: National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) is India’s first-ever sovereign wealth fund (SWF) that was set up by the Indian Government in the year 2015.
  • The primary objective of setting up NIIF was to optimise the economic impact largely through investing in infrastructure-related projects.
  • NIIF funds were found to primarily invest in the infra-related projects across the country by building the capital from both domestic and international investors.
  • It has been incorporated as a company under the Companies Act, 2013 and is acting as the investment manager to Alternative Investment Funds (as defined under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Alternative Investment Funds).

What is a sovereign wealth fund?

  • A sovereign wealth fund or a state-owned fund is used to invest in capital assets such as real estate, metals, stocks, and bonds.
  • SWFs also invest in alternative investments such as private equity funds and hedge funds.
  • SGFs are majorly formed from the country’s reserves, and intended to allocate funds for the betterment of the country’s economy.

 

Types of NIIF

Master Fund

  • This fund primarily invests in infra-related projects such as roads, ports, airports, and power.
  • Master fund invests in well-established enterprises that are into a long-term agreement and are operating in a regulated environment with a good history.
  • This kind of businesses are believed to act as a hedge at times of inflation and offers stable cash inflow.

 

Fund of Funds

  • Fund of funds looks to invest in funds managed by the renowned fund managers having an excellent track record.
  • The fund of funds invests as anchor investors, and this enables the fund managers to accumulate more fund from the institutional investors.

 

Strategic Fund

  • This fund is registered as an Alternative Fund II under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in India.
  • Strategic funds invest primarily in equity and equity-linked instruments.

 

Objectives of NIIF

  • NIIF aims to maximize the economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects such as greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects.
  • It also considers other nationally important projects in manufacturing, if commercially viable.
  • The state-owned fund also intends to attract investment from both domestic and foreign investment sources.
  • The major objective is to generate attractive long-term risk-adjusted returns for investors on a sustainable basis.

 

FAQs regarding NIIF

Q. When NIIF was established?

Ans. National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) is India’s first-ever sovereign wealth fund (SWF) that was set up by the Indian Government in the year 2015.

 

Q. What is a sovereign wealth fund?

Ans. A sovereign wealth fund or a state-owned fund is used to invest in capital assets such as real estate, metals, stocks, and bonds.

 

Q. Where is NIIF headquarters?

Ans. NIIF is headquartered in Mumbai, India.

 

Q. What are the types of NIIF?

Ans. There are three types of NIIF: Master funds, Fund of funds, and Strategic funds.

 

Q. What is the NIIF full form?

Ans. The NIIF full form is National Infrastructure and Investment Fund

 

Intersolar Europe 2022

 

  • GS Paper 2: International Relations- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Intersolar Europe 2022 in News

  • Recently, the Indian Union Minister of State for Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, attended the Intersolar Europe 2022 held at Munich, Germany.
  • The Minister delivered key note address at the investment promotion event on “India’s Solar Energy Market”.

 

Intersolar Europe 2022- What is Intersolar Europe?

  • About: Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and takes place annually at the Messe München exhibition center.
    • Intersolar 2022 will take place in Munich, Germany from 11-13 May.
    • Intersolar Europe takes place as part of The smarter E Europe parallel to the three energy exhibitions ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe.
  • Participation: Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year.
  • Mandate: Intersolar Europe aims to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.

Sustainable Future through Sustainable Energy- India’s Commitments

  • Ambitious Panchamrit Targets: These targets were set during COP-26 by India. India is all set to achieve net zero by 2070 and install 500GW of non-fossil by 2030.
    • India’s vast renewable energy resource potential and strong policy backing provide a strong foundation for achieving these goals.
  • Early Achievement of Renewable Energy Targets: India has seen incredible growth of RE capacity in last 7 years and has achieved target of 40% cumulative electric capacity from non-fossil fuel in 2021, 9 full years ahead of set target of 2030.
  • Promotion of Solar PV Sector: Government of India is committed to promoting domestic manufacturing in the solar PV sector to achieve its ambitious deployment goals.
    • Several policy measures have been undertaken to support the domestic PV manufacturing sector.
    • India is committed to increase domestic Manufacturing of high efficiency Solar PV modules for which total budget outlay of Rs. 24,000 Cr is made
  • Promoting Green Hydrogen: The Green Hydrogen Mission has expected outcome of generating 4.1 Million Tonnes of annual Green Hydrogen production.
    • To promote green hydrogen economy, India has estimated outlay of Rs. 25,425 Cr.

 

 

UNCCD COP15

 

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

UNCCD India UPSC: Context

UNCCD COP 15: Key points on migration

  • Key drivers of migration: Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), climate and environmental changes.
  • Promotion of sustainable agriculture and its associated value chains offer promising avenues to stop out-migration of rural population.
  • A stronger symbiotic urban-rural linkage targeting vulnerable groups that include women, rural youth, refugees, and internally displaced person be provided with on-farm and off-farm employment.
  • Watershed Development Component – Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (WDC-PMKSY) has generated more than 37.73 Million man-days of employment which also contributed to the reduction in migration in the treated areas, especially, during pandemic period.
    • It has further acted as an enabler of reverse migration, when labour force was reverted to their native places and engaged with the watershed workforce.

 

UNCCD 2022: Key points on gender

  • From the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-78) onwards, there has been a marked shift in the approach to women’s issues from welfare to development.
  • The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women.
  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the Constitution of India have provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of Panchayats and Municipalities for women, laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels.
  • The goal of National Policy for the Empowerment of Women, 2001 is to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women.
  • Empowerment of women is an integral part of PMKSY in India.
  • Representation of women has been envisioned in the Watershed Committees involved in planning, implementation and maintenance of watershed interventions.
  • Women-based community organizations such as Self-Help Groups, User Groups and farmer producer organizations are formed and nurtured while implementing the watershed programs.

 

UNCCD India:  Key points on dust storms

  • Sand and dust storms (SDS) are of common occurrence in arid and semi-arid regions both in Asia and Africa and affects 11 of the 17 SDGs.
  • SDS adversely impact environment and quality of life.
  • Anthropogenic SDS source mitigation is lacking in most of the countries and there is a lack of required data and information to address SDS related issues.
  • Capacity building of parties to address SDS through SDS toolbox and decision support system was envisaged. The first SDS Toolbox will be made available by mid-2022.
  • India can designate appropriate remote sensing agency (such as SAC/ NRSC) to develop GIS layers at finer scale to integrate indicator layers to test its applicability on ground for further improvement.

 

 First Incredible India International Cruise Conference

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

 First Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 in news

  • Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Development of the North-eastern Region (DoNER) took part in various discussions on tourism related themes during the first Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022.
  • He addressed the participants about the various tourism related themes and discussions that included Potential of River Cruising and Cruise Tourism: Success Stories and Destination Development.

 

 First Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022

  • About: the two-day Incredible India International Cruise Conference showcased abundant business opportunities in the country’s cruise tourism sector.
  • Objectives: Incredible India International Cruise Conference aims to-
    • Showcase India as a desired destination for cruise passengers,
    • Highlight the regional connectivity,
    • Promote building of new destinations and attractions like lighthouses and d\
    • Disseminate information about India’s preparedness for developing the cruise tourism sector.
  • Organizing Ministry: First Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 is being organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.

Tourism Industry in India- Steps Taken

  • dedicated task force has been formulated on Cruise Tourism jointly by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Shipping.
  • Sagarika: It was recently inaugurated which is the International Cruise Terminal in Kochi. It will cater to over one lakh guests.
  • Central Financial Assistance Scheme of Union Government has been supporting Tourism Infrastructure Development for-
    • Developing ports and cruise Terminals,
    • Development of Lighthouses,
    • Purchase of ferries and Development of river cruise circuits etc.
  • Union Ministries and departments are also involved in-
    • Development of policy frameworks,
    • SOPs for management and Operation of cruise in international, domestic/coastal and river cruise sectors.
  • Three Major Scheme for development of Tourism Infrastructure: SWADESH DARSHAN, PRASHAD and Central Financial Assistance are the three major central government schemes for the development of tourism sector in India.

 

Swadesh Darshan scheme                      

  • About: Swadesh Darshan Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme launched in 2014-15 for the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits.
    • Swadesh Darshan scheme is an initiative taken by the government to enrich the tourist experiences and to enhance opportunities and promote lesser-known destinations.
  • Parent Ministry: Swadesh Darshan scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India.
  • Objective: Swadesh Darshan scheme aims to promote, develop and harness the potential of tourism in India.
  • Funding: Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance to State Governments and Union Territory Administrations for the infrastructure development of circuits.
  • Significance: Swadesh Darshan scheme is envisioned to synergize with other schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India, etc. with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as-
    • A major engine for job creation
    • The Driving force for economic growth,
    • Building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realize its potential.

 

About PRASHAD Scheme

  • About: National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) scheme was launched by the Ministry of Tourism with a special objective of holistic development of pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • Identification of Sites: Through this drive, 57 sites are identified in 29 states and union territories.
  • Iconic Tourist Sites- Buddhist Sites at Bodhgaya, Ajanta & Ellora, etc. have been identified to be developed as Iconic Tourist Sites.

 

IPEF

  • GS 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

IPEF US: Context

  • The United States (US) is planning to launch its new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) to build stronger trade and supply chain ties with Japan, India and Southeast Asia to counter China’s economic influence in the region.

 

IPEF and India: What is IPEF?

  • “Indo-Pacific economic framework” is the centre piece of the present U.S regime’s economic strategy toward Indo-Pacific region.
  • In October 2021, US announced the development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) with partner nations to define shared objectives around trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply chain resiliency, decarbonization and clean energy, infrastructure, worker standards, and other areas of shared interest.
  • The U.S. is working out the details of this strategy with a range of countries in the region, including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and India.
  • Pillars of IPEF: The IPEF will focus on four main pillars: trade facilitation, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and decarbonization, and taxation and anti-corruption.

 

Indo Pacific Economic Framework: Why needed?

  • The IPEF is envisaged as a response to growing Chinese economic ties with the rest of Asia.
  • China is now applying for membership in the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), which might affect US relations with the Asian nations.

 

How IPEF is different from CPTPP?

  • Unlike the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Indo-Pacific economic framework will not lower tariffs or otherwise expand market access.
  • Also, IPEF prioritise “flexibility and inclusion”, and participating countries can join IPEF without necessarily joining all the four pillars of the framework, which the experts are calling a pick-and-choose arrangement that could make India more open to coming on board.

 

IPEF and India

  • India is currently studying the benefits of participation but appears to have a preference for bilateral economic forums with the United States.
  • Some East and Southeast Asian countries may feel reluctant about India’s inclusion in the IPEF given lingering frustrations over India’s withdrawal from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
  • Japan and Australia, however, see value in India’s inclusion for strategic reasons—the same reasons that those two nations are enthusiastic members of the Quad.
  • Though India’s inclusion in the framework may not be recommended by a few countries, it’s exclusion from the IPEF would raise questions about how “Indo” the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework truly is.

 

The Road to Safety

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Road Accidents in India

  • Every year, mega Indian cities witness nearly 50,000 accidents. A quarter of them are fatal.
  • More than half of these are on account of over speeding and a quarter due to dangerous driving.
  • Nearly half of those who lose their lives are pedestrians. Almost half of these avoidable deaths are due to collisions with buses and trucks.

 

Case study of Delhi

  • In the case of New Delhi, road deaths peaked in 2009. Since then, they have gradually tapered despite burgeoning numbers of vehicles.
  • This improvement came on the back of commendable interventions by the Delhi Police on black spots, traffic calming measures, and enhanced enforcement.
  • The Delhi government has now initiated a drive to enforce lane discipline, starting with strict compliance on the bus lane.
    • This required a reorientation in approach by all road users. Buses, like big bullies, hitherto had a free run.
    • Now, deviations from the lane invite harsh penalties.
  • Driving Licenses: Delhi now has automated driving test centres, which have reduced the margin of human intervention. Consequentially, failure rates (about 40%) are far higher than other cities.

 

Eliminating Road Accidents in India

  • Effective driver license granting mechanism: A learner’s license, issued after a test on a basic understanding of road signages and traffic rules, is the first requirement. A driving skill test confirms the ability of the driver to wield the wheel.
    • An additional step of mandatory simulator tests and psychological evaluation could be embedded in the regulatory framework- more so for drivers of heavy transport vehicles.
  • Improving Road Designs: road designs are to be such to accommodate all users fairly.
    • Buses must stick to their lanes and stop at designated bus stops.
    • Our roads need to make spaces for all users- pedestrians/cyclists, buses, other vehicles- and designate pick-up and drop-off points for taxis and auto rickshaws.
    • This entails remodelling our roads with intuitive road designs and signages, which mark out different zones of road usage.
    • A pilot stretch has been redesigned collaboratively with IIT Delhi.
  • Promoting use of Public Transport: The propensity of people to use personal vehicles instead of public transport also adds to the chaos.
    • Some of this is attributable to need for improvement in efficiencies of public transport, but partly on account of personal choices.
    • Delhi has the highest per capita registration of personal vehicles — nearly 110 cars per 1,000 people, as against a national average of 25.
  • Introducing Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions: it will integrate all options of public mobility on a common digital platform.
    • A commuter could then choose to hop onto a bus, metro, a cab or an auto.
    • A government-backed digital aggregator of all mobility options would make public transport more efficient and provide inbuilt solutions for last-mile and first-mile connectivity.

 

Conclusion

  • Disciplining traffic on roads is a mammoth exercise in collective behavioural change. The onus of change lies as much on citizens as on the government.
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