Daily Current Affairs and GK | 14 July 2021

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Topic: Science and Technology

1. IIT Madras researchers developed AI-based model to track cancer-causing mutations.

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based mathematical model to track cancer-causing mutations.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven algorithm used a technique that tracks the genetic alterations responsible for cancer progression.
  • The researchers faced the main challenge in differentiating the relatively small number of driver mutations and a large number of passenger mutations. The driver mutations are responsible for the growth of cancer cells.
  • With the help of an AI-based model, researchers have successfully differentiated between drivers and passenger mutations among the cancer genes with an accuracy of 89%.
  • It will also help in the analysis of cancer genomic sequences. The main of this model is to discover the “right drug for the right person at the right time.”
  • Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body.

Topic: Sports

2. Former cricketer Yashpal Sharma passes away.

  • Former Indian cricketer Yashpal Sharma passed away at the age of 66.
  • He was a member of the Kapil Dev-led World Cup-winning team. He scored 61 runs in the semi-final of the 1983 world cup.
  • He scored 1606 runs at an average of 33.45 in his test career. In ODIs, he scored 883 runs at an average of 28.48.
  • He was born in Ludhiana and played for Punjab, Haryana, and Railways.
  • He served as a national selector from 2004 to 2005, and later from 2008 to 2011.
  • He will be remembered for his valuable contribution to Indian Cricket.

Yashpal Sharma

(Source: News on AIR)

 

 

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

3. WHO issues new recommendations on human genome editing technology.

  • WHO has issued first global recommendations for establishing human genome editing technology as a tool for public health.
  • Two new companion reports released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 12 July provide for these recommendations.
  • Faster and more accurate diagnosis, more targeted treatments and prevention of genetic disorders are potential benefits of human genome editing.
  • As per Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist, the reports result from first broad, global consultation looking at somatic, germline and heritable human genome editing.
  • Somatic gene therapies, germline and heritable human genome editing:
    • In somatic gene therapies, a patient’s DNA is modified to treat or cure disease.
    • Somatic gene therapies have been used to address HIV, sickle-cell disease and transthyretin amyloidosis.
    • Germline and heritable human genome editing, which alter the genome of human embryos, could be passed on to subsequent generations and modify descendants’ traits.
  • The consultation, which spanned over two years involved hundreds of participants. Potential benefits of human genome editing are given below.
    • New strategies for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of genetic disorders
    • New avenues to treat infertility
    • New ways to promote disease resistance
    • Contribution to vaccine development
    • Enhanced knowledge of human biology
  • The reports provide recommendations on governance and oversight of human genome editing in nine discrete areas.
  • The focus of recommendations is on systems-level improvements needed to build capacity in all countries to ensure that human genome editing is used safely, effectively and ethically.
  • New governance framework provided in reports identifies specific tools, institutions and scenarios to illustrate practical challenges in implementing, regulating and overseeing research into the human genome.
  • Governance framework in the reports offers concrete recommendations for dealing with specific scenarios given next.
    • A hypothetical clinical trial of somatic human genome editing for sickle cell disease proposed to take place in West Africa.
    • Proposed use of somatic or epigenetic genome editing to enhance athletic performance.

Topic: Sports

4. Khelo India Youth Games 2021 to be organized by Haryana in February 2022.

  • Khelo India Youth Games 2021 will be organized by Haryana in February 2022.
  • The decision was taken in first meeting of Organising-cum-Coordination Committee regarding the preparation of Khelo India Youth Games 2021 held under the chairmanship of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
  • Sandeep Singh was also present in the meeting. He is Haryana’s Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs.
  • Khelo India Youth Games are to be held in U-18 age group in which there will be a total of 25 sports competitions.
  • Earlier, games were to be organized from November 21 to 30 at five places including Panchkula, Chandigarh, Shahbad, Ambala and Delhi.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

5. India and Nepal signed MoU for execution of Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project.

  • India and Nepal have signed an MoU for the execution of the 679 Mega Watt Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project.
  • The MoU has been signed between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) of Nepal.
  • Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, a Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Power, has got a contract for building the Lower Arun Hydropower Project.
  • Lower Arun Hydropower Project is located in the Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur districts of eastern Nepal. It will have four francis type turbines and will generate 2,970 million units of electricity per annum.
  • It is the second project which will be built by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN). Earlier, it has got the contract of building Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project.
  • Arun-3 HEP is the largest project in Nepal. Its foundation stone was laid on 11th May 2018.

Mou between India and Nepal

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

6. India’s single largest solar park to be set up at Rann of Kutch.

  • NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd will set up a 4750 MW renewable energy park at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. It will be India’s single largest solar park.
  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has given approval to NTPC REL for setting up renewable energy park under the ultra-mega renewable energy power parks (UMREPP) scheme.
  • NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd will also generate green hydrogen from this park. NTPC is planning to build 60 GW Renewable Energy Capacity by 2032.
  • At present, NTPC has an installed capacity of 66 GW across 70 power projects.
  • NTPC has also set up India’s largest Floating Solar of 10 MW (ac) on the reservoir of Simhadri Thermal Power Plant, Andhra Pradesh.
  • NTPC REL has also inked a pact with Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) for the generation of green hydrogen and deployment on FCEV buses.
  • NTPC Limited:
    • It is a government government-owned electric utility company.
    • It works under the Ministry of Power.
    • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
    • It is involved in electricity generation and allied activities.

Topic: National News

7. India’s first cryptogamic garden opens in Dehradun.

  • India's first cryptogamic garden has been opened in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It is home of 50 species of lichens, ferns, and fungi.
  • It is located in the Chakrata town of Uttarakhand.  Around 50 species of lichens, ferns, and fungi have been grown in the garden at Deoban in Chakrata.
  • Deoban has forests of Deodar and Oak which provide a natural habitat for cryptogamic species.
  • Cryptogamae means “hidden reproduction”. It represents the non-seed-bearing plants. Algae, bryophytes, lichens, ferns, and fungi are the example of cryptogams.
  • Algae are the photosynthetic organisms that derive solar energy and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to form their biomass.
  • Lichens form a symbiotic partnership between two separate organisms. Fungi is a kingdom of multicellular eukaryotic organisms.

Topic: India and its Neighbourhood

8. Bhutan will become first country to adopt Unified Payment Interface (UPI) standards.

  • Bhutan will become the first country to adopt Unified Payment Interface (UPI) standards for its QR deployment.
  • Bhutan will also become the first country to issue and accept RuPay cards. It will benefit more than 2 lakh tourists from India.
  • National Payment Corporation of India has inked a pact with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan for implementing BHIM UPI QR-based payments.
  • The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA), will ensure the participating NPCI mobile application through UPI QR transactions.
  • In 2020, NPCI International Payments was launched to expand the footprint of the UPI platform to other countries.

Unified Payment Interfacce

Topic: Banking System

9. RBI Retail Direct facility introduced by RBI.

  • RBI Retail Direct facility has been introduced by RBI to facilitate investment in Government Securities by individual investors.
  • RBI Retail Direct facility is a one-stop solution to facilitate investment in Government Securities (G-Secs) by individual investors.
  • Under the facility, retail investors (individuals) will have the facility to open and maintain Retail Direct Gilt (RDG) Account with RBI.
  • RBI Retail Direct facility was announced in February 2021 as part of continuing efforts to increase retail participation in government securities.
  • Retail Direct Gilt (RDG) Account can be opened through an ‘Online portal’ provided for ‘RBI Retail Direct’ scheme.
  • Non-Resident retail investors eligible to invest in Government Securities under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 are eligible under ‘RBI Retail Direct’ scheme.

Topic: Books and Authors

10. HarperCollins announces release of “The Struggle Within: A Memoir of the Emergency by Ashok Chakravarti”. 

  • HarperCollins has announced the release of “The Struggle Within: A Memoir of the Emergency by Ashok Chakravarti”. 
  • The Struggle Within is a major account of emergency. Its author Ashok Chakravarti is an economist.
  • He has been providing policy advice to countries for past forty years. He is currently Senior Economic Advisor to the Government of Zimbabwe.
  • Emergency was enforced in India from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977. It was issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

11. ICCR and Delhi University sign an MoU to set up Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi University.

  • Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Delhi University signed an MoU to set up Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi University.
  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that establishment of the Bangabandhu Chair is a tribute to great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami joined the event virtually from Dhaka.
  • Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi University will foster better understanding of developments in Bangladesh. The Chair will focus on the common heritage of the two countries.
  • Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR):
    • It is an autonomous organization that was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
    • Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is its current President. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

ICCR and Delhi University sign an MoU to set up Bangabandhu Chair

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/Assam

12. Assam CM launched a scheme to provide one-time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh to Covid widows.

  • Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has launched a scheme to provide one-time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh to Covid widows.
  • Under the scheme, one-time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh each will be provides to all widows, whose husbands died due to COVID-19 and their annual family income is less than Rs 5 lakh.
  • The scheme has been named as ‘Chief Minister's COVID-19 Widows Support Scheme'. Widows of government servants will not be covered under this scheme
  • 873 beneficiaries have been identified under the scheme. State ministers will give the cheques to them by next week.
  • The CM said that government had identified 873 widows. But, it expects that 2,000-2,500 widows will be there.
  • Assam government has already launched a scheme to give Rs 3,500 per month to children, who lost their parents due to COVID-19.
 

 

 

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