Current Affairs Summary 20-04-2021 with Quiz

EU & Indo-Pacific

Recently, the European Union (EU) approved conclusions on a European Union strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
The renewed EU commitment to the Indo-Pacific will have a long-term focus and will be based on upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.
Indo-Pacific is a region spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states.

Intense geopolitical competition adding to increasing tensions on trade and supply chains as well as in technological, political and security areas.
Human rights are also being challenged. These developments increasingly threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting the EU’s interests.
To contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development at a time of rising challenges and tensions in the region.
Promoting rules-based multilateralism, giving centrality to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), a point also stressed by India.
The EU will work together to mitigate the economic and human effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and work towards ensuring an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic recovery.
The EU’s approach and engagement will look to foster a “rules-based international order, a level playing field, as well as an open and fair environment for trade and investment, reciprocity, the strengthening of resilience, tackling climate change and supporting connectivity with the EU.
On trade partnerships, the EU will aim to conclude free trade agreements with Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand and take further steps towards the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China.
It will also continue to explore deepening economic relations with India.
It will continue to develop partnerships in the areas of security and defence, including addressing maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organised crime.
It has taken the decision to extend the geographic scope of its CRIMARIO (Critical Maritime Routes) II activities from the Indian Ocean into South and Southeast Asia to contribute to safer sea lanes of communication with the EU.
The EU Critical Maritime Route Wider Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO) project was launched in 2015 to improve maritime security and safety in the Wider Indian Ocean, with a particular focus on selected countries and archipelagos in East Africa, it aims to support countries in the region to enhance their Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA).
Increasing competition, power rivalry, unilateral actions challenging the multilateral order and international laws are some of the common concerns shared by India and Europe.
With an enhanced focus on their strategic relations and engagement with other like-minded regional players, India and the EU can play a significant role in preserving an open, free, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-pacific.
India’s support for France’s membership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
India’s backing for a larger European role in the Indo-Pacific. India has welcomed the interest of Germany and the Netherlands in building a new geopolitical architecture in the Indo-Pacific.
Some of the crucial areas that India and the EU can work together include joint efforts in the capacity building against challenges like piracy, counter-terrorism etc and cooperation in enhancing interoperability and domain awareness, maritime technologies, blue economy etc.
There is a growing realisation of the need for a larger European role in the region, as the European strategic community has begun to acknowledge that the strategic and economic interests of Europe are intrinsically linked to the Indo-Pacific region.
The increasing convergence of interests and shared values offer scope for deepening India-EU cooperation in the region to secure global commons, maintain stability and cooperatively support economic prosperity and together shape a stable multipolar order.

Britain Considering New Digital Currency Britcoin


British authorities are exploring the possibility of creating a Central Bank Digital Currency, being touted as "Britcoin."
It is a step towards future-proofing Pound Sterling (currency of the United Kingdom) against cryptocurrencies and improving the payments system.
In the wake of declining cash payments in the country partly due to the Corona pandemic, the Bank of England and the Treasury are considering creating Digital Currency.
The Digital currency, if passed, would exist alongside cash and bank deposits and act as a new form of money to be used by households and businesses in England.
It would sit at the interface between cash and private payments systems and would not necessarily be based on distributed ledger technology.
This ‘britcoin’ would be tied to the value of the pound to eliminate holding it as an asset to derive profit.
The move could have an economic impact in the form of wider investment into the UK tech sector and lower transaction costs for international businesses.
Britain’s digital currency would be different in a key sense as if passed, it would be issued by state authorities.
Currently, only the Bahamas has such a currency, though China is trialling it in several cities.
Digital currency is a payment method that is in electronic form and is not tangible.
It can be transferred between entities or users with the help of technology like computers, smartphones and the internet.
Although it is similar to physical currencies, digital money allows borderless transfer of ownership as well as instantaneous transactions.
Digital currency is also known as digital money and cybercash. E.g. Cryptocurrency.
A central bank digital currency (CBDC) uses an electronic record or digital token to represent the virtual form of a fiat currency of a particular nation (or region).
Fiat Currency: It is a government-issued currency that is not backed by a physical commodity, such as gold or silver, but rather by the government that issued it.
A CBDC is centralized; it is issued and regulated by the competent monetary authority of the country.
Each unit acts as a secure digital instrument equivalent to a paper bill and can be used as a mode of payment, a store of value, and an official unit of account.
CBDC aims to bring in the best of both worlds—the convenience and security of digital form like cryptocurrencies, and the regulated, reserved-backed money circulation of the traditional banking system.
New forms of digital money could provide a parallel boost to the vital lifelines that remittances provide to the poor and to developing economies.
It will ensure that people are protected from financial instability caused due to the failure of private payments systems.
Ensures that central banks retain control over monetary policy against the remote possibility that payments might migrate into cryptocurrencies over which they have no leverage.
There is a need to enforce strict compliance of Know Your Customer (KYC) norms to prevent the currency’s use for terror financing or money laundering.
The existence of digital money could undermine the health of commercial banks as it removes deposits on which they primarily rely for income.
Reserve Bank India (RBI) had considered cryptocurrencies as a poor unit of account and also demonstrated by their frequent and high fluctuation in value.
According to RBI, it poses several risks, including anti-money laundering and terrorism financing concerns (AML/CFT) for the state and liquidity, credit, and operational risks for users.
However, it is considering developing a sovereign digital currency when the time is appropriate.

India-Cuba Relations

The retirement of Raul Castro as the first secretary of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party brings to an end the six-decade-long rule of the “historic generation”, who, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, captured power in 1959 through an armed revolution.
Earlier in January 2021, the US State Department had designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism for repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists.

From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
In 1940, Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952.
Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro.
Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba.
The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
In 2019, a new Constitution was approved which officially recognizes the right to private property, while also reassuring the central government's authority over the regulation of production and land.
India was amongst the first countries to extend recognition to Cuba after the 1959 Revolution. Both countries have maintained close contacts with each other in various international fora, such as the United Nations (UN), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), World Trade Organization (WTO), etc.
India has been supporting Cuba against US-supported resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council and also consistently voted in favour of Cuban sponsored resolutions in the UN General Assembly calling for the lifting of US sanctions against Cuba.
Cuba supports India's inclusion as a permanent member in the restructured UN Security Council.
Cuba also voted in favour of India’s candidature for Non-Permanent Seat in UNSC.
Cuba has also joined the International Solar Alliance, an India-France initiative.
Bilateral trade between India and Cuba stands at USD 38.81 Million (as of 2017).
India and Cuba agreed to collaborate in the areas of Biotechnology, Homeopathy and the traditional system of medicine during the visit of the President of India to Cuba in 2019.
India provides development assistance to Cuba in various sectors, and in January 2019 made a donation of 60 tractors with accessories, medicines and medical equipment to the island.
In Cuba, Yoga and Vipassana meditation are practised. Interest in Ayurveda and Indian Naturopathy is increasing.
Rabindranath Tagore’s birth anniversary is celebrated every year.
In May 2007, a bust of Rabindranath Tagore donated by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was unveiled in Old Havana.
There is a bust of Mahatma Gandhi and a statue of Mother Teresa in Havana.
Cuba also celebrated International Day of Yoga, Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary and the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Both Cuba and India have been united for many years and there is common ground in their struggles to achieve a multi-polar world. Both countries are great friends, however, these magnificent political ties must be developed more in the economic and commercial field.

National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report


The Department of Science and Technology has released a report titled ‘The Report Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework’.
It identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India concerning current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability.
It aids in prioritizing adaptation investment, developing and implementing adaptation programs.
The assessment is unique as it uses a common framework across the states & union territory to make them comparable thereby empowering the decision-making capabilities at the policy and administrative levels.
Some key indicators for the assessment include a percentage of the population living below the poverty line; income share from natural resources; the proportion of marginal and small landholdings, women’s participation in the workforce; density of healthcare workers etc.
It is part of the capacity building programme under the two missions of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (total 8 missions).
National Mission on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE)
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC).
Highly Vulnerable States: It identified Jharkhand, Mizoram, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and West Bengal as states highly vulnerable to climate change.
Lower-middle Vulnerable States: Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim and Punjab.
Low Vulnerable States: Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra.
Highly Vulnerable Districts: Among all states, Assam, Bihar, and Jharkhand have over 60% of districts in the category of highly vulnerable districts.
Vulnerability scores in all the districts of India lie in a very small range. It shows that all districts & states are somewhat vulnerable to current climate risk in India.
The assessments can be used for India’s reporting on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
These assessments will help support India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
It will contribute to the development of more targeted climate change projects and will support the implementation of the State Action Plans on Climate Change.
It will help in developing adaptation projects for the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and funds from multilateral and bilateral agencies.
It will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through the development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.
Climate-related extremes, such as heatwaves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability.
Differences in vulnerability and exposure arise from non-climatic factors and from multidimensional inequalities often produced by uneven development processes. These differences shape differential risks from climate change.
According to The Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index-2019, India was ranked 5th out of 181 countries, implying an extremely high exposure and vulnerability.

Sulphur Dioxide Emissions from Caribbean Volcano

The Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) emissions from a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean (La Soufriere Volcano) have reached India, sparking fear of increased pollution levels in the northern parts of the country and acid rain.
The Caribbean is the region roughly south of the United States, east of Mexico and north of Central and South America, consisting of the Caribbean Sea and its islands.
It is an active stratovolcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
A stratovolcano is a tall, conical volcano composed of one layer of hardened lava, tephra, and volcanic ash. These volcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, located in the southern Caribbean, consists of more than 30 islands and cays, nine of which are inhabited.
It is the highest peak in Saint Vincent and has had five recorded explosive eruptions since 1718, most recently in April 2021.
The last time the volcano had erupted was in 1979.
Volcanic emissions reaching the stratosphere can have a cooling effect on global temperatures.
The most significant climate impacts from volcanic injections into the stratosphere come from the conversion of sulphur dioxide to sulphuric acid, which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulphate aerosols.
The aerosols increase the reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space, cooling the Earth’s lower atmosphere or troposphere.
Bigger eruptions during the past century have caused a decrease in temperature of 0.27 degree Celsius or more on the Earth’s surface for up to three years.
SO2 emissions that lead to high concentrations of SO2 in the air generally also lead to the formation of other sulfur oxides (SOx). SOx can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form small particles. These particles contribute to Particulate Matter (PM) pollution.
Small particles may penetrate deeply into the lungs and in sufficient quantities can contribute to health problems.
Acid rain results when sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) are emitted into the atmosphere and transported by wind and air currents.
The SO2 and NOX react with water, oxygen and other chemicals to form sulfuric and nitric acids. These then mix with water and other materials before falling to the ground.

Mizoram Bru Refugees

The process of settlement of Mizoram Bru refugees in Tripura has started.
It is by a quadripartite accord signed in New Delhi in January 2020.
Bru or Reang is a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram and Assam. In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.
In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state.
In 1997, following ethnic clashes, nearly 37,000 Brus fled the Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram and were accommodated in relief camps in Tripura.
Since then, 5,000 have returned to Mizoram in eight phases of repatriation, while 32,000 still live in six relief camps in North Tripura.
In June 2018, community leaders from the Bru camps signed an agreement with the Centre and the two-state governments, providing for repatriation in Mizoram. But most camp residents rejected the terms of the agreement.
The camp residents said that the agreement didn't guarantee their safety in Mizoram.
The Centre, the governments of Mizoram and Tripura and leaders of Bru organisations signed a quadripartite agreement in January (2020).
Under the pact, the Home Ministry has committed to incur the whole expenditure of settlement in Tripura.
A plot, fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakh, free ration and a monthly stipend of Rs. 5,000 for two years.
Also, each family will be provided Rs. 1.5 lakh to construct a house.

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

Recently, NASA's miniature robot helicopter Ingenuity performed a successful takeoff and landing on Mars. It was the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
The first powered flight on Earth was achieved by the Wright brothers in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Ingenuity is the first helicopter to fly on Mars.
It was carried by NASA’s rover called Perseverance that was launched in July 2020.
Ingenuity can fly using counter-rotating blades that spin at about 2,400 rpm (Rotations Per Minute).
It has a wireless communication system and is equipped with computers, navigation sensors, and two cameras.
It is solar-powered, able to charge on its own.
The helicopter’s mission is experimental in nature and completely independent of the rover’s science mission.
It will help collect samples from the surface from locations where the rover cannot reach.
Its performance during these experimental test flights will help inform decisions about small helicopters for future Mars missions — where they can perform a support role as robotic scouts, surveying terrain from above, or as full standalone science craft carrying instrument payloads.
Perseverance landed at the Jezero Crater (an ancient river delta that has rocks and minerals that could only form in water) of Mars in February 2021.
It will remain on the Red Planet for about two years and look for finding past signs of life.
The rover is designed to study signs of ancient life, collect samples that might be sent back to Earth during future missions and test new technology that might benefit future robotic and human missions to the planet.
It is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System. It is also called ‘Red Planet’.
Mars is about half the size of Earth.
As Mars orbits the Sun, it completes one rotation every 24.6 hours, which is very similar to one day on Earth (23.9 hours).
Mars' axis of rotation is tilted 25 degrees concerning the plane of its orbit around the Sun. This is similar to Earth, which has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees.
Like Earth, Mars has distinct seasons, but they last longer than seasons on Earth since Mars takes longer to orbit the Sun (because it's farther away).
Martian days are called sols—short for ‘solar day’.
Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos, that may be captured asteroids.
It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh by Indian Space Research Organisation in November 2013.
It was launched onboard a PSLV C-25 rocket with aim of studying Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).

Dhruv MK III: Advanced Light Helicopter

Recently, the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 323, the first unit of the indigenously built ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) Dhruv Mk III aircraft, was commissioned into the Indian Navy.

The indigenously designed and developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-DHRUV) is a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class.
It is a multi-role chopper with the Shakti engine manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
HAL is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company, headquartered in Bangalore, India. It is governed under the management of the Ministry of Defence.
HAL conceptualised the Advanced Light Helicopter programme in 1984. The major variants of Dhruv are classified as Dhruv Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III & Mk-IV.
The aircraft, a step up from Mk 1, will be able to mitigate low visibility during search and rescue operations even at night.
It has a 0.7 mm gun, which will give a huge capability from a LIMO (low-intensity maritime operations) standpoint.
The automatic flight control system is hugely superior to the previous one.
The Mk III version of the ALH has an all-glass cockpit and will be used for search and rescue, special operations and coastal surveillance.

Union Cabinet approves India-Bangladesh Cooperation in Trade

The Union Cabinet recently approved the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Director-General of Trade Remedies of India and the Trade and Tariff Commission of Bangladesh. The agreement was signed to increase the cooperation in the area of trade remedies. The agreement was signed on March 27, 2021.
The agreement aims to promote the exchange of information, trade remedies and other activities following the provisions of the World Trade Organisation.
The agreement mainly targeted countervailing, anti-dumping and safeguard measures in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh.

What are Countervailing duties?

The Countervailing Duties, also called CVDs are import tariffs. They are imposed to nullify the adverse effects of subsidies. CVDs are also called anti-subsidy duties.
Suppose a country finds out that a foreign country is subsidising its imports. This will cause harm to domestic suppliers. Thus, the home country can impose duties on such goods to protect its domestic suppliers. These duties are imposed only under World Trade Organisation rules.

What is the difference between countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties?

The countervailing duties are imposed on subsidised products on exporting country. On the other hand, anti-dumping duties are imposed on imports that are of low price.
Let us assume that China is exporting silicon wafer to India.
Case 1: Chinese Government provides a subsidy to silicon wafer manufacturers. Now when India imposes import duties, then it is called countervailing duties.
Case 2: No subsidies are provided to a silicon wafer by the Chinese Government. But the exporter is selling at very low prices. In this case, when India imposes a duty, it is called anti-dumping duties.

Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry recently launched the “Start-Up India Seed Fund” scheme. The scheme aims to provide financial support to the startups for their prototype development, proof of concept, product trials, market entry.

Startup India Fund Scheme

The scheme will provide Rs 945 crores in the next four years to the startups.
It is expected to support more than 3,600 startups through three hundred incubators.
The scheme will create a robust startup ecosystem in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. The startups in these cities are often deprived of funding.
The fund will support transformative ideas and the kindle startup revolution.

Disbursement

The funds under the scheme will be disbursed in the following ways:
Up to Rs, 20 lakhs is to be granted for prototype development, Proof of concept and product trials.
Up to Rs, 50 lakhs is to be granted to scale up through convertible debentures.

Seed Funds

Seed Funds are those funds that are provided or used during the very beginning of the investment.

Need for Seed Funds

Indian startups are facing capital inadequacy especially in the seed and Proof of Concept development stage. Capital requirement is highly crucial at this stage as it might make or break a situation for startups that possess good business ideas.

Expert Advisory Committee

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade shall constitute an Expert Advisory Committee to monitor the overall execution of the scheme.

Background

In February 2021, the GoI announced that a SISFS is to be established by April 2021. It is in line with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat campaign that was launched in May 2020.

Dracopristis Hoffman forum: Godzilla shark discovered in New Mexico

In 2013, Jonh Paul Hodnett, a graduate student unearthed the fossil of a shark at Albuquerque, New Mexico. It turns out that, it is a fossil of a new shark species so far not known to man. After seven years of excavation, it has been named a Dragon shark. It is also called Hoffman’s Dragon shark or Godzilla shark.

About Dragon Shark

The shark has 0.75-metre-long fin spines. Thus, it was named Godzilla Shark initially.
It is 2 metres long.
The teeth of the shark were the first sign that it might be a different species. The teeth of the shark were shorter, squatter and less than an inch (2 centimetres) long.

About the Fossil

This recovered fossil is the most complete of its evolutionary branch (ctenacanthus). The Ctenacanthus split from the modern-day sharks around 390 million years ago. They went extinct 330 million years ago. The Ctenacanthus lived during the Carboniferous period.
The discovered fossil shows that the parts of eastern Mexico were once covered by the sea. This sea extended till the current day of North America.
The high desert plateaus of New Mexico have also yielded several dinosaur fossils, especially the fossils of Tyrannosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus roamed around millions of years ago. A recent study says that more than 2.5 billion Tyrannosaurus once existed on the earth.

Name of the shark

Hoffman has named the shark “Dracopristis Hoffman forum” to honour the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano mountains. The fossil was discovered in this land.

Carboniferous Period

It is a geologic period that lasted from 358.9 million years ago to 298.9 million years ago. It belongs to the late Palaeozoic era. The earth was covered with dense and swampy forest during this period. The period gave rise to large deposits of peat. Peat is a brown deposit that resembles soil. It is formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter in wet acidic conditions. The peat transformed into rich coal stores in North America and Western Europe.

Online Portal: For trusted telecom gear makers

The Government of India recently launched an online portal to procure telecom gears from “trusted sources”. The sources to be listed in the portal are to be identified by the highest cybersecurity offices in the country.

About the Portal

The portal will list all the trusted companies and their gears. This will help the telecom operators in the country to obtain quality and trusted products.
Access to the portal is currently available only to selected operators.
The portal is currently in its beta phase. GoI is to launch the portal officially in June 2021 after removing errors if any in the portal.

What is the beta phase?

The beta phase is one of the phases in the software release cycle. It is one of the stages of development and maturity of the software.

What is Software Release Cycle?

A software release cycle is the stage of development and maturity of the software. The states are as follows:
  • Pre-Alpha: Activities performed before formal testing of the software
  • Alpha: First phase of software testing
Beta: In this stage, the software features are complete. However, it is likely to contain known and unknown bugs. This phase mainly focuses on reducing the impacts on users.
Release to Manufacturing: The end-user is allowed to verify the integrity and authenticity of the software
General Availability: completing all the required commercialization activities
Release to the Web: Distributing the software using the internet. That is, no physical media is used in this type of release

Why is the portal being launched in India?

The portal is being launched to protect Indian companies from becoming victims of cyber threats from neighbouring countries, especially China. The cybersecurity threats from China have increased lately. This is one of the main reasons Huawei that had a great impact on the rollout of 4G is not expected to make it to the final list.

Khanjar: India-Kyrgyzstan Military Exercise 

India and Kyrgyzstan recently held a joint Special Force Military Exercise called the “Khanjar”. The exercise was held in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

About the Exercise

  • The exercise was held for two weeks.
  • It will focus on counter-terrorism and high-altitude and mountain training.
  • The Khanjar exercise is held annually between India and Kyrgyzstan since 2011.

India-Kyrgyzstan

In 2015, India and Kyrgyzstan signed four agreements. The agreements focused on boosting defence cooperation. Kyrgyzstan is located in Central Asia. India has been looking for several opportunities to increase its trade in the region lately. The INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor) and Chabahar ports were planned and developed to fulfil India’s interests in Central Asia. Developing good relations with Kyrgyzstan is thus important for India.
Terrorist threats
The Fergana valley is shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The valley is home to terrorist groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahtir and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
With the US withdrawing its troops, the Taliban might take the central stage in Afghanistan. It might expand its presence from Afghanistan. Thus, India needs to build strong defence ties with these central Asian countries.

What is the Special Force Unit of the Indian Military?

The forces that are trained to operate a specific special task are special forces. For instance, Para Special Forces of the Indian Army are trained in various roles such as counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, special reconnaissance, counter-insurgency.
The Garud Commando Force is a special force that operates under Indian Air Force. The main tasks of this force include counter-terrorism, providing security to IAF assets, hostage rescue.
The Marcos Special Force operates under the Indian Navy. They are the Marine Commandos. The force has earned an international reputation for its professionalism. The MARCOS was founded in 1987. THE MARCOS frequently conduct maritime operations in Jammu and Kashmir through the Wular lake and Jhelum river. They are trained to operate in all types of environment such as air, sea and land.

QUIZ

1. Centre has cleared how much advance payment to Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech without bank guarantee?a) Rs 3000 crore
b) Rs 5000 crore
c) Rs 4500 crore
d) Rs 2800 crore


Ans: (c) Rs 4500 crore The Union Government has reportedly decided to offer an advance payment of over Rs 4,500 crore to the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech to secure future supplies of Covid-19 vaccines.

2. Which film won ‘Best Foreign Language Feature at the Moscow International Film Festival 2021?a) Thappad
b) Uyare
c) Asuran
d) Puglia
Ans: (d) Puglia Puglya, a Marathi film, has won the ‘Best Foreign Language Feature at the Moscow International Film Festival 2021. The achievement continues Puglya’s immensely successful international stint as the movie has been winning accolades at foreign festivals. Director Vinod Sam Peter’s movie is about a pug and two boys.

3. Which nation has added India to its travel 'red list'?a) the UK
b) Japan
c) France
d) Australia


Ans:(a) the UK The United Kingdom has added India to its travel "red list" on a precautionary basis. This came after the nation reported 103 cases of a coronavirus variant that was first identified in India. This means that anyone who is not the UK or an Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK if they've been in India in the previous 10 days.

4. Which Indian weightlifter has created a new world record in Clean and Jerk?a) Mirabai Chanu
b) Jeremy Lalrinnunga
c) Jhili Dalabehera
d) S Sathish Kumar


Ans:(a)Mirabai Chanu Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu created a new world record on April 17, 2021, in Clean and Jerk after she lifted 119 kg at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent.

5. Delhi has imposed a curfew till which date?a) April 26th
b) May 2nd
c) April 30th
d) April 22nd


Ans: (a) April 26th Delhi has imposed a week-long curfew from 10 pm on April 19 till 5 am on April 26th. Before this, the state had imposed a night curfew. The Delhi CM said that the surge of new COVID-19 infections has left the healthcare infrastructure stretched to its limits and caused an acute shortage of oxygen.

6. Which country plans to return to Moon with 'Luna 25' after 45 years?a) Russia
b) Japan
c) the US
d) China


Ans: (a) Russia Russian Space Agency ‘Roscosmos’ is all set with its mission to launch its spacecraft‘Luna 25’on October 1, 2021, towards the icy South pole of the Moon. After 45 years since their last landing on the Moon, Russian scientists are taking up the project to study the water beneath the surface at the South pole of the Moon.

7. Which country has launched its first-ever mega food park and food processing unit in India?a) Germany
b) Spain
c) Italy
d) Japan


Ans: (c) Italy Italy on April 17, 2021, launched its first-ever mega food park and food processing unit in India. The pilot project ‘The Mega Food Park’, with the signing of a Letter of Intent between the Fanidhar Mega Food Park in Gujarat and the ICE Office in Mumbai, was launched virtually.
8. India’s Ministry of _____________ signed an agreement, “Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment” with ____________ for technical cooperation in Combating marine pollution. 1) Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Italy
2) Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Germany
3) Housing and Urban Affairs, Germany
4) New and Renewable Energy, France
5) Jal Shakti, France

Answer-3) Housing and Urban Affairs, Germany
Explanation:
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India and Deutsche GIZ GmbH India on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety signed an agreement titled “Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment” on Technical cooperation over a virtual event in New Delhi.

9.In April 2021, the Finance Ministry replaced the Income Tax Settlement Commission with a new dispute resolution system. What is the maximum taxable income that can be resolved through the new system?
1) Rs. 15 lakhs
2) Rs. 25 lakhs
3) Rs. 30 lakhs
4) Rs. 50 lakhs
5) Rs. 5 lakhs

Answer- 4) Rs. 50 lakhs
Explanation:
In April 2021, the finance ministry notified the rules for winding up of the Settlement Commission which handled income tax and wealth tax disputes, effective 1 February 2021. It will be replaced by a new dispute resolution system with assessing taxable income up to Rs 50 lakh and disputed income of up to Rs 10 lakh.

10.India was ranked ______ in the ‘Inclusive Internet Index 2021’ released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in partnership with __________. 1) 52nd, Google
2) 52nd, Facebook
3) 52nd, Amazon
4) 49th, Google
5) 49th, Facebook

Answer- 5) 49th, Facebook
Explanation:
India has been ranked 49th out of 120 countries in the ‘Inclusive Internet Index 2021’ released by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in partnership with Facebook. India shares its rank with Thailand.
Top 3 countries – Sweden, United States, Spain
India Ranked at 52nd Position in 2020
4.Parameters measured – Availability, Affordability, Relevance & Readiness

11.India along with ___________ conducted the joint military exercise ‘Khanjar’ in ___________.
1) Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
2) Kazakhstan, Jaipur
3) Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan
4) Kyrgyzstan, Jaipur
5) Tajikistan, Jaipur
Answer-1) Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
Explanation:
The 8th Edition of India-Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Force Military Exercise, ‘Khanjar’ was inaugurated on April 16, 2021. The exercise is taking place at the Special Forces Brigade of National Guards of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek, Capital of Kyrgyzstan.
About Kyrgyzstan:
President – Sadyr Japarov

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