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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Feb 04, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Lithium deposits in Mandya district of Karnataka.

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The Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India has discovered 1600kg Lithium in Mandla district of Karnataka. India has been dependent on Lithium imports for a long time, which makes this discovery more significant.

The thermonuclear application makes Lithium as “Prescribed substance” under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 which permits Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) for exploration of Lithium in various geological domains of the country.  Due to the continuously increasing demand of Lithium-ion batteries, the requirement of Lithium has increased over last few years.

First of all, see important uses if Lithium.

  1. Lithium has widespread uses across domains.
  2. It is added to glasses and ceramics for resistance to temperature fluctuation
  3. it is used in heat-resistant greases and lubricants, and
  4. it is alloyed with Aluminium and copper for light weight aerial components.
  5. Lithium is also used in psychiatric medications and in dental imprints.
  6. The lighter of two lithium isotopes is used in the production of Tritium, a key component of nuclear weapons.
  7. The most widespread and well-known use of Lithium is in the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery

India’s first Lithium plant

India’s first Lithium plant has been set up at Gujarat in 2021. The refinery will use Lithium ore to produce base battery material. The growing demand for Lithium in India is driven by the goal of Indian government to become one of the largest electric vehicle markets world over. NITI Ayog has set an ambitious target to increase the number of electric vehicles by 30 percent by 2030. In line with these goals, the Lithium refinery will help make Gujarat a hub for Lithium-ion batteries, as there are already a few battery manufacturing plants that are being set up in Gujarat. This factory becomes important, because India currently relies on other nations like China, Japan, and Taiwan for its electric battery supply.

This discovery will reduce import dependency and promote make in India, along with AtmaNirbhar Bharat in the energy sector.

What about other countries?

While we have discovered 1600kg Lithium reserves, other countries are far ahead in Lithium discovery and export. Bolivia is the leading producer with 2.10 crore tonnes lithium reserves, and Argentina has 1.70 crore tonnes of Lithium.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) came into being on August 3, 1954 under the direct charge of the Prime Minister through a Presidential Order. According to the Resolution constituting the AEC, the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Atomic Energy is ex-officio Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. 

Current Affair 2:
Democracy Index 2020

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Very few things you have to know about this Index. Just read what we have provided. Nothing else.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories.

The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.

Based on its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”

India’s rank has degraded by two places from the previous year ranking. This year India has been ranked at 53rd place.

Current Affair 3:
Risk-Based Internal Audit (RBIA) system.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on has introduced a risk-based internal audit (RBIA) system. It has made it mandatory for select non-banking financial companies and urban co-operative banks (UCBs).

RBIA is an audit methodology that links an organization’s overall risk management framework. It provides an assurance to the board of directors and the senior management on the quality and effectiveness of the organization’s internal controls, risk management and governance-related systems and processes.

Background.

In terms of the Guidance Note issued by RBI, banks are required to put in place a risk based internal audit (RBIA) system as part of their internal control framework that relies on a well-defined policy for internal audit, functional independence with sufficient standing and authority within the bank, effective channels of communication, adequate audit resources with sufficient professional competence, among others. RBI had also introduced the RBIA system for the scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) in the year 2002.

What has changed now?

  1. The NBFCs and UCBs face risks similar to the ones for scheduled commercial banks which require an alignment of processes.
  2. As per the norms, all the deposit-taking non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) with the asset size of Rs 5,000 crore will have to implement this system.
  3. Also, the UCBs having asset size of Rs 500 crore will have to implement the system.
  4. The system is required to be implemented by March 31, 2022.
  5. The performance of the RBIA system will be looked by the board of the entity or its audit committee. The board of the entity is already responsible to look after the internal audit function of the organisation.

What is the need of new system?

Though NBFCs and UCBs already have internal audit systems. But it usually focuses to test the transaction, to check the accuracy & reliability of accounting records and to make financial reports etc. but, the risk-based internal audit system will enhance the efficacy of internal audit systems and processes which are followed by both the entities.

Further, these entities have grown in size over time and has become systemically important. So, the different audit systems for lending entities were creating inconsistencies, risks and gaps. Thus, the need of new system felt.

How the RBIA system will work?

RBIA system will evaluate the internal risk management systems and control procedures in various aspects of operations in the NBFs and UCBs. It will also test the transaction in order to anticipate risks and mitigate it.

Current Affair 4:
Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC)

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Recently, the Delhi High Court (HC) ordered the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ensure “complete and strict” implementation of the regulation issued by it in 2018 for curbing Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC).

It means any Commercial Communication which a subscriber opts not to receive, but does not include:

  1. Any transactional message or
  2. Any message transmitted on the directions of Central Government or State Government or agencies authorized by it.

“Commercial Communication” means any message, voice or SMS, made through telecommunications service, which is transmitted for the purpose of informing or soliciting or promotion of any commercial transaction in relation to goods, investment or services.

A small background:

Background:

A plea was filed by a company in the HC claiming that millions of its customers have been defrauded by the phishing activities over the mobile networks and the failure of the telecom companies to prevent the same has caused financial and reputational loss.

It claimed that under the regulations, the telecom companies are required to verify purported telemarketers seeking registration (called registered telemarketers or RTMs) with them before granting access to their customer data and also take action immediately against all fraudulent RTMs.

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

It contended that the telecom companies are violating their obligations under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018, to curb the problem of unsolicited commercial communications.

Also see Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018:

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notified Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018 that is proposed to curb the problem of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC).

It replaced the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 (2010 Regulations).

Problem with early regulation:

Features of new regulation:

Current Affair 5:
Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance

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Recently, the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance started a worldwide campaign to raise awareness for conservation of fishing cats.

The Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance is a team of conservationists, researchers and enthusiasts working to achieve functioning floodplains and coastal ecosystems that ensure survival of the fishing cat.

Fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus) are medium-sized wild cats that owe their names to their eating habits. Unlike what we may imagine of feline creatures, fishing cats are well adapted to life by the water. They appear to be good swimmers and have partially webbed feet that may help them navigate water and wet soils. 

Habitat:

Fishing cats have a patchy distribution along the Eastern Ghats. They abound in estuarine floodplains, tidal mangrove forests and also inland freshwater habitats.

Apart from Sundarbans in West Bengal and Bangladesh, fishing cats inhabit the Chilika lagoon and surrounding wetlands in Odisha, Coringa and Krishna mangroves in Andhra Pradesh.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable. Despite multiple threats, the Fishing Cat was recently down listed to “Vulnerable” from “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List species assessment.

CITES: Appendix II

Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I

Conservation Efforts:

  1. Recently, the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance has initiated a study of the bio-geographical distribution of the fishing cat in the unprotected and human-dominated landscapes of the northeastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh.
  2. In 2012, the West Bengal government officially declared the Fishing Cat as the State Animal and the Calcutta Zoo has two big enclosures dedicated to them.
  3. In Odisha, many NGOs and wildlife conservation Societies are involved in Fishing Cat research and conservation work.

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