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    Current Affairs – 1st September 2021


    • News: Despite the abstention of two “P5” countries — Russia and China — from the India-led United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2593, the Government of India said it was a “matter of satisfaction” that the resolution addressed India’s “key concerns” on Afghanistan.
    • Details:
      • The resolution, which called on the Taliban to keep their commitments on preventing terror groups in Afghanistan and urged them to assist the safe evacuations of all Afghan nationals wishing to leave the country, was the result of a careful coordination and “high-level” official contacts with UNSC members
      • The resolution demands that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter and train terrorists and plan or finance terrorist attacks. It mentions individuals designated by Resolution 1267, (which includes the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad).
      • Explaining the split within the P5, Russia and China said they wanted all the groups, especially the Islamic State and the Uighur East Turkestan Islamic Movement to be named specifically in the document, and listed a number of objections to the drafting of the resolution.
      • They accused the U.S., the U.K. and France, the sponsors of the resolution, of having rushed it through on a “tight schedule” while seeking to absolve the U.S. of responsibility, and distinguishing between “their and our terrorists”.
    • About United Nations Security Council (UNSC):
      • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.
      • Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action. The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.
      • Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created after World War II to address the failings of the League of Nations in maintaining world peace.
      • The Security Council consists of fifteen members, of which five are permanent: the People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.
      • These ten non-permanent members are elected by the United Nations General Assembly for two-year terms starting on 1 January, with five replaced each year. To be approved, a candidate must receive at least two-thirds of all votes cast for that seat, which can result in deadlock if there are two roughly evenly matched candidates.
      • A retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election.
      • These were the great powers, or their successor states, that were the victors of World War II.
      • Permanent members can veto any substantive resolution, including those on the admission of new member states to the United Nations or nominees for the office of Secretary-General.
      • The remaining ten members are elected on a regional basis to serve a term of two years. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
      • Resolutions of the Security Council are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget.
      • Under Article 27 of the UN Charter, Security Council decisions on all substantive matters require the affirmative votes of three-fifths (i.e., nine) of the members. A negative vote or “veto” by a permanent member prevents adoption of a proposal, even if it has received the required votes.


    • News: India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 20.1% in the first quarter of 2021-22, compared with the 24.4% contraction recorded in the corresponding quarter a year ago, but economic activity remained well below the pre-pandemic levels, thanks to the second wave of COVID-19.
    • About Gross Value Added (GVA):
      • Gross value added (GVA) is an economic productivity metric that measures the contribution of a corporate subsidiary, company, or municipality to an economy, producer, sector, or region.
      • GVA provides a dollar value for the amount of goods and services that have been produced in a country, minus the cost of all inputs and raw materials that are directly attributable to that production. GVA thus adjusts gross domestic product (GDP) by the impact of subsidies and taxes (tariffs) on products.
      • Gross value added (GVA) is an economic productivity metric that measures the contribution of a corporate subsidiary, company, or municipality to an economy, producer, sector, or region.
      • GVA is the output of the country less the intermediate consumption, which is the difference between gross output and net output.
      • GVA is important because it is used to adjust GDP, which is a key indicator of the state of a nation’s total economy.
      • It can also be used to measure how much money a product or service has contributed toward meeting a company’s fixed costs.
      • GVA is the output of the country less the intermediate consumption, which is the difference between gross output and net output. GVA is important because it is used in the calculation of GDP, a key indicator of the state of a nation’s total economy.

    3.     FAKE NEWS

    • News: The Centre on Tuesday defended before the Delhi High Court its decision to regulate news and current affairs content on digital media under the new Information Technology (IT) Rules saying that there have been past incidents of disinformation on digital media leading to disturbance of public order.
    • About Fake News:
      • Fake news is false or misleading information presented as news.
      • It often has the aim of damaging the reputation of a person or entity, or making money through advertising revenue.
      • However, the term does not have a fixed definition, and has been applied more broadly to include any type of false information, including unintentional and unconscious mechanisms, and also by high-profile individuals to apply to any news unfavourable to his/her personal perspectives.
      • Once common in print, the prevalence of fake news has increased with the rise of social media, especially the Facebook News Feed.
      • Political polarization, post-truth politics, confirmation bias, and social media algorithms have been implicated in the spread of fake news.


    • News: Around 200 people, including members of various citizens’ groups from Gurugram, Faridabad and villages near the Bandhwari landfill, attended the public hearing by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board on Tuesday seeking objections to the setting up of a 25MW waste-to-energy plant.
    • About Waste to Energy Plant:
      • Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW) is the process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste, or the processing of waste into a fuel source. WtE is a form of energy recovery.
      • Most WtE processes generate electricity and/or heat directly through combustion, or produce a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane, methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels.
      • All new WtE plants in OECD countries incinerating waste (residual MSW, commercial, industrial or RDF) must meet strict emission standards, including those on nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), heavy metals and dioxins.
      • Incinerators may emit fine particulate, heavy metals, trace dioxin and acid gas, even though these emissions are relatively low from modern incinerators.
      • Thermal treatment technologies:
        • Gasification: produces combustible gas, hydrogen, synthetic fuels
        • Thermal depolymerization: produces synthetic crude oil, which can be further refined
        • Pyrolysis: produces combustible tar/biooil and chars
        • Plasma arc gasification or plasma gasification process (PGP): produces rich syngas including hydrogen and carbon monoxide usable for fuel cells or generating electricity to drive the plasma arch, usable vitrified silicate and metal ingots, salt and sulphur
      • Non-thermal technologies:
        • Anaerobic digestion:Biogas rich in methane
        • Fermentation production: examples are ethanol, lactic acid, hydrogen


    • News: With uncertainty hanging over the international representation of Afghanistan under the Taliban, a question has risen over its membership in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which is scheduled to meet next in Islamabad. Veteran diplomats here observed that the fate of Afghanistan’s membership, and even the future of SAARC to some extent, depends on the Taliban creating an inclusive government.
    • About South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):
      • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.
      • Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
      • The SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 4.21% (US$3.67 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2019.
      • The SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985.
      • Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
      • The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration.
      • It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
      • The SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.


    • News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday as floods forced 5.74 lakh people out of their homes in 22 of the State’s 34 districts.
    • About Flood Resistant Paddy crop of Assam:
      • The varieties called Ranjit Sub1, Swarna Sub1 and Bahadur Sub1 have been used by about 60% farmers of the West Brahmaputra area.
      • Farmers in flood-prone areas of Assam have been harvesting the water-resistant Swarna Sub1, developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute, since 2009.
    • Significance:
      • Resist Submergence: The new rice varieties can resist submergence for up to two weeks, and significantly do not get damaged by the heavy flood.
      • However, comparison with the traditional varieties is difficult as they get damaged in the flood.
      • Greater Yield: Enriched with the ‘submergence’ (sub in short) gene, the varieties can yield up to five tonnes per hectare on an average.
      • Reduction in Crop Loss: Some 1,500 farmers cultivate on about 950 hectares in crop-yielding areas which have been impacted by the regular flood. Therefore, rice varieties can reduce flood-caused crop loss substantially.
      • Regeneration: These varieties can get regenerated again in case damaged by the flood, hence ensure maximum productivity.
    • About Rice:
      • It is a kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.
      • About one-fourth of the total cropped area in India is under rice cultivation.
      • Leading Producer States: West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab.
      • High Yielding States: Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Kerala.
      • In West Bengal, farmers grow three crops of rice called ‘aus’, ‘aman’ and ‘boro’.
      • India contributes 21.6% of rice production in the world and ranks second after China.


    • News: The first shipments on a newly-launched railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China, that provides China a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean.
    • Details:
      • A “test cargo” through what is being called the China-Myanmar New Passage arrived at the Chengdu rail port in Sichuan province on August 27.
      • The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link. Goods from Singapore reached Yangon Port, arriving by ship through the Andaman Sea of the northeastern Indian Ocean, and were then transported by road to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China border in Yunnan province.
      • The new railway line that runs from the border town of Lincang to Chengdu, a key trade hub in western China, completes the corridor.
      • This passage connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar and China, and is currently the most convenient land and sea channel linking the Indian Ocean with southwest China.
      • China also has plans to develop another port in Kyaukphyu in the Rakhine state, including a proposed railway line from Yunnan directly to the port, but the progress there has been stalled by unrest in Myanmar.
      • Chinese planners have also looked at the Gwadar port in Pakistan as another key outlet to the Indian Ocean that will bypass the Malacca Straits. Gwadar is being developed as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to the far western Xinjiang region, but has been slow to take off amid concerns over security. The costs and logistics through CPEC are also less favourable than the Myanmar route with the opening of the rail transport channel from the Myanmar border right to western China’s biggest commercial hub, Chengdu.


    • News: A Bangladeshi vaccine scientist and a microfinance pioneer from Pakistan were among the five recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award — regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize.
    • About Ramon Magsaysay Award:
      • The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.
      • The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government.