Given below are the daily current affairs for 25th Jan 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- India-France air exercise concludes
- HAL to deliver three combat helicopters soon
- IAS officers in Odisha adopt schools to improve quality
- Punjab to build fiscal information platform
- Mock trials of remote voting project soon: CEC
- New ant species discovered from Kerala
Draft policy to help grow nano, micro enterprises
- Draft policy on the Udyog Sahayak Enterprises Network (USENET).
- The proposed Udyog Sahayak Enterprises Network framework draft has been put together by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Azim Premji University.
USENET Framework approach:
- The approach is based on the belief that India rather than creating more nano-entrepreneurs, should rather focus on helping existing MSEs grow in size. The framework is aimed at providing a slew of growth-driven services to over 62 million nano and micro-enterprises that currently employ over 100 million people in India.
- The USENET framework aims to create a countrywide entrepreneurial network. The platform will give the nano and micro-enterprises, facing growth challenges, information on policies, government schemes and credit options, and visibility to lenders and customers and thereby help them grow. The framework will also create a support system to help these enterprises adopt new technologies, and increase productivity.
- The Union government is likely to sanction upto ?5,000 crore to part-fund CAPEX to set up at least 19 lakh USENET centres. Each of these centres will be headed by a Udyog Sahayak, who will have a mandate to help and monitor the growth of 15 to 50 enterprises
- This new policy may give a major fillip to the growth-stunted nano and micro-enterprises in India’s informal sector.
- By enabling scale-up of nano and micro enterprises, USENET can aid in the creation of an additional 10.3 million jobs over five years, going up to nearly 56.9 million jobs over 10 years. Hence it holds the potential to grow and create a large number of jobs.
- The framework is expected to boost the value-added per worker potential and this alone could bring in a 12% nominal growth in GVA (gross asset value), amounting to an economic value of Rs. 2.16 lakh crore in five years and over Rs. 19 lakh crore at the end of 10 years.
Sunderbans is home to 428 species of birds, says ZSI
“Birds of the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve” has been released by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- The publication documents the avifauna of the Sunderbans.
- It also serves as a comprehensive photographic field guide, with detailed distribution and locality data for all the species from the region.
- According to the publication, the Indian Sunderbans, which is part of the largest mangrove forest in the world, is home to 428 species of birds.
- India has over 1,300 species of birds and if 428 species of birds are from the Sunderbans, it means that one in every three birds in the country is found in the unique ecosystem.
- Of the 428 birds listed, some, like the masked finfoot and the Buffy fish owl, are recorded only from the Sunderbans.
- The area is home to nine out of 12 species of kingfishers found in the country as well as rare species such as the Goliath Heron and the spoon-billed sandpiper.
- The Indian Sunderbans covers 4,200 sq. km, and includes the Sunderban Tiger Reserve of 2,585 sq. km.
- The tiger reserve is home to about 96 royal Bengal tigers (census 2020).
- It is a world heritage site and a Ramsar site (a wetland site designated to be of international importance).
Biden government to review U.S.-Taliban deal
- The new US administration under President Joe Biden has expressed its intention to review the landmark U.S. deal with the Taliban.
The US Taliban peace deal:
- The US had struck a deal with the Taliban in Qatar in late 2020, to begin withdrawing its troops in return for security guarantees from the Taliban.
- The Taliban had committed to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders in a bid to kick start peace talks with the Afghan government.
- The deal envisaged a peace process with a robust and regional diplomatic effort, to help achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.
Post deal scenario:
- There has been recent progress made on women and minority groups’ rights as part of the peace process.
- However, violence across Afghanistan has surged despite the ongoing negotiations. Deadly attacks and high-profile assassinations have increased in recent months, particularly in Kabul where several journalists, activists, judges and politicians have been murdered. Though the Taliban has denied responsibility for these killings, but Afghan and U.S. officials have blamed the group for the attacks. This has led to accusations of the Taliban not living up to its commitments.
- The newly appointed US National Security Adviser has stated that the US wants to ascertain if the Taliban is living up to its commitments agreed as part of the deal.
Afghan government’s response:
- The US’s move to review the deal has been welcomed by the Afghan government, given the speculation surrounding the new US administration’s Afghan policy.
- The Afghan government has been stating that the agreement had failed to achieve its stated goals given the Taliban’s failure to live up to its commitments under the deal.
India-France air exercise concludes
- The India-France air exercise Desert Knight 2021 concluded recently.
- A first-of-its-kind bilateral exercise, Rafale aircraft from both sides along with Su-30 MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft of the IAF undertook joint missions.
HAL to deliver three combat helicopters soon
- Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is scheduled to deliver the first batch of three indigenous light combat helicopters (LCH) to the Army and the Air Force.
- The Army variant of the light utility helicopter (LUH) is a three-tonne helicopter positioned as replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
IAS officers in Odisha adopt schools to improve quality
- Senior IAS officers in Odisha have come forward to adopt Odia-medium schools to improve quality education and basic infrastructure.
- These around 20 IAS officers would be mentoring schools making the initiative one-of-its-kind in the country.
Punjab to build fiscal information platform
- The Punjab government has signed an agreement with the eGovernments (eGov) Foundation to build a first-of-its-kind fiscal information exchange platform. The platform will facilitate real-time availability of financial information to the stakeholders.
- This will aid in data-driven and efficient deployment of public funds and policy making.
- This will also help the state to better monitor and track its financial health and allow it to adapt to dynamic and evolving needs such that available funds can be deployed actively to meet its development agenda and priorities.
Mock trials of remote voting project soon: CEC
What’s in News?
The Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the trials of the Election Commission’s remote voting project would be carried out soon.
Proposals and Roadmap of the Election Commission:
- A research project on remote voting using cutting-edge technology has been started with IIT-Madras and other leading institutions.
- The system being developed by the IIT-M uses blockchain for two-way remote voting at designated centres.
- Another proposal under active consideration is the grant of postal ballot facility to overseas electors.
- Also, going forward, electors will be able to download electronic versions of the elector photo ID card, or e-EPIC.
- It would be a non-editable PDF version of the EPIC that can be downloaded on the phone and stored on the DigiLocker app or printed from a computer.
New ant species discovered from Kerala
What’s in News?
- Two new species of a rare ant genus have been discovered in India.
- The species of the ant genus Ooceraea found in Kerala, and Tamil Nadu adds to the diversity of this rare genus.
- They differ from others of the same genus on the basis of the number of antennal segments.
- One of them, found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala, has been named Ooceraea joshii, after a distinguished evolutionary biologist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).
About ant genus Ooceraea:
- The genus is currently represented by 14 species of which eight possess nine-segmented antennae, while five possess eleven- segmented antennae and one species has recently been reported with eight-segmented antennae.
- In India, the genus was so far represented by two species with nine- and eleven-segmented antennae respectively.
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