Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Jun 02, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan in the field of sustainable urban development

Source Link

India and Japan have signed Memorandum of Cooperation on Sustainable Urban Development in supersession of existing MoU of 2007 on Urban Development.

Implementation strategy:

The cooperation under this Memorandum of Cooperation will commence on the date of its signature and continue for a period of 5 years. Thereafter, it may be renewed automatically for further successive periods of 5 years at a time.

Major Impact:

The Memorandum of Cooperation will promote strong, deep and long-term bilateral cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development between the two countries.


The Memorandum of Cooperation is expected to create employment opportunities in the areas of sustainable urban development, including Urban Planning, Smart Cities Development, Affordable Housing, (including rental housing), Urban Flood Management, Sewerage and Waste Water Management, Urban Transport (including Intelligent Transport Management System, Transit-Oriented Development and Multimodal Integration) and Disaster Resilient development.

India scenario:

India is projected to add 416 million urban dwellers between 2018 and 2050. By 2030, India is expected to be home to seven mega-cities with populations above 10 million. 68% of the country’s total population live in rural areas, while 17% of the country’s urban population live in slums. The Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) are working to address the challenge of improving urban spaces. The prime minister’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana aims to achieve housing for all by 2022.


A brief introduction to The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations programme for human settlements and sustainable urban development. It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development held in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976.

PARTNER: UN-Habitat collaborates with governments, intergovernmental, UN agencies, civil society organizations, foundations, academic institutions and the private sector to achieve enduring results in addressing the challenges of urbanization.

Three conferences have been conducted till now:


Third conference created “New Urban Agenda”

The New Urban Agenda was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016. The New Urban Agenda works as an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 11Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable – to provide a comprehensive framework to guide and track urbanization around the globe.

In 2017, they asked:

Current Affair 2:
World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) in respect to India.


As a member of World Health Organisation (WHO) community, India observes 'World No Tobacco Day' on May 31 every year to highlight the colossal health risks associated with the use of tobacco. Despite the fact that tobacco use causes more than 1.3 million deaths every year in the country, more than 28% or nearly 270 million adults and 14.6% of youth (ages 13-15) currently use some form of tobacco which puts them at amplified risk of COVID-19 infection.

In India, over 1.3 million deaths are attributable to tobacco use every year amounting to 3500 deaths per day, imposing a lot of avoidable socio-economic burden.  In addition to the death and diseases it causes, tobacco also impacts the economic development of the country. Smokers face a 40-50% higher risk of developing severe disease deaths from COVID-19. As per the WHO study titled “Economic Costs of Diseases and Deaths Attributable to Tobacco Use in India” it has been estimated that the economic burden of diseases and deaths attributable to tobacco use of tobacco in India was as high as Rs. 1.77 lakh crores, amounting to approx. 1% of GDP.


Reduction of deaths and illness due to tobacco is one of the Sustainable Development Goals fixed by the United Nations. To achieve this, we need to fortify our tobacco control regime.

Let us see our Tobacco control regime:

The first attempt to legislatively address the issue of tobacco consumption was made in the year 1975. The Act mandated statutory health warnings on packages and advertisements of Cigarettes but did neither apply to other tobacco products nor prohibit the consumption of tobacco by a particular class of people or at public places.

Subsequently, the Government of India enacted the "Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) and ratified the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) with the ultimate goal to reduce the prevalence and reverse the tobacco epidemic.

  1. The COTPA mainly sought to protect the non-smokers from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke by making public smoking an offence.
  2. The Act also sought to protect minors (person below 18 years of age) from being addicted and therefore criminalized the sale of tobacco products to minors.
  3. However, the Act did not prohibit consumption of tobacco products but sought to empower the consumers by educating them about harmful effects of tobacco consumption so that they may make informed choices.
  4. The Act accordingly made it mandatory to display written and pictorial warnings on product packages. It also prohibited the advertisement of cigarette and tobacco products except on point of sale and on the package.

Need to further strengthen the law

In view of the increasing tobacco industry interference and circumvention of the law, there is an urgent need to further strengthen the law to prevent the tobacco industry from exploiting the existing gaps in the legal regime which were discernible with the passage of time. Considering this call, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare drafted The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Amendment) Bill and now has put it in the public domain. However, it's been five months since the comments were invited on the Bill but it is yet to see the light of the day.

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization. The WHO FCTC is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The Convention entered into force on 27 February 2005.

The core demand reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are:

  • Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, and
  • Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, namely:
  • Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke;
  • Regulation of the contents of tobacco products;
  • Regulation of tobacco product disclosures;
  • Packaging and labelling of tobacco products;
  • Education, communication, training and public awareness;
  • Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and,
  • Demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation.

India ratified the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Few efforts of the Government:

Under the National Health Policy 2017, India has set an ambitious target of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in 2007- 08 in 42 districts of 21 States/Union Territories of the country. Currently, the Programme is being implemented in all States/Union Territories covering over 600 districts across the country.

Enacted The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019

Achievements: The prevalence of tobacco use has reduced by six percentage points from 34.6% to 28.6% during the period from 2009-10 to 2016-17. The number of tobacco users has reduced by about 81 lakh (8.1 million).

Link: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1723097


Current Affair 3:
Horticulture Cluster Development Programme

Source Link

What is this programme about? we will see first that.

To ensure holistic growth of horticulture, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare launched the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme (CDP). In a pilot phase, the programme will be implemented in 12 horticulture clusters out of the total 53 clusters selected for the programme.

A central sector programme implemented by the National Horticulture Board (NHB) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, CDP aims at growing and developing identified horticulture clusters to make them globally competitive.

Objectives of Programme:

  1. programme will address all major issues related to the Indian horticulture sector including pre-production, production, post-harvest management, logistics, marketing and branding.
  2. The programme is designed to leverage geographical specialisation and promote integrated and market-led development of horticulture clusters.
  3. to improve exports of the targeted crops by approx. 20% and create cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops.

Now, you will remember the place and fruit associated. Question may come in the form of match the following to choose region associated with fruits.

The clusters of the pilot phase include Shopian (J&K) and Kinnaur (H.P.) for Apple, Lucknow (U.P.), Kutch (Gujarat) and Mahbubnagar (Telangana) for Mango, Anantpur (A.P.) and Theni (T.N.) for Banana, Nasik (Maharashtra) for Grapes, Siphahijala (Tripura) for Pineapple, Solapur (Maharashtra) and Chitradurga (Karnataka) for Pomegranate and West Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) for Turmeric.

Now something important:

Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has released the Final Estimates of 2019-20 and First Advance Estimates of 2020-21 of Area and Production of various Horticultural Crops. These are based on the information received from States and other source agencies.

Some important figures from PIB, don’t remember exact number, but have a rough idea about production.

  1. Total Horticulture production in 2019-20 is estimated to be 3.12% higher than 2018-19.
  2. Increase in production of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Spices is seen whereas decrease in Plantation Crops and Aromatics & Medicinal Plants is registered over 2018-19.
  3. The Fruits production is estimated to be 102.03 million Tonne compared to 97.97 million Tonne in 2018-19.
  4. The production of Vegetables is estimated to be 188.91 million Tonne, against 183.17 million Tonne in 2018-19.



Horticulture Sector in India:

  1. India is the second-largest producer of horticulture crops globally, accounting for approximately 12% of the world’s production of fruits and vegetables.
  2. India is a leader in producing fruits like Mango, Banana, Pomegranate, Sapota, Acid Lime and Aonla.
  3. In 2018-19, Andhra Pradesh followed by Maharashtra and UP were the top states in fruit production.
  4. West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were the top States in vegetable production.

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)

 Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root & tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo. Under MIDH, Government of India (GOI) contributes 60%, of total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except states in North East and Himalayas, 40% share is contributed by State Governments. In the case of North Eastern States and Himalayan States, GOI contributes 90%.

National Horticulture Board (NHB)

It was set up by Government of India in April 1984 on the basis of recommendations of the "Group on Perishable Agricultural Commodities", headed by Dr M. S. Swaminathan, the then Member (Agriculture), Planning Commission, Government of India, as an Autonomous organization under the administrative control of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Current Affair 4:
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)



Justice Arun Mishra Takes Over as National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India was established on 12 October, 1993. The statute under which it is established is the Protection of Human Rights (PHR) Act (PHRA), 1993. It was amended from time to time.

Section 2(1) (d) of the PHR Act defines Human Rights as the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.

Now we will see composition and appointments of NHRC.

Recommendation of a committee for appointment:

And you see that Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha didn’t participate.

Composition: For composition, we will introduce you to Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which made several changes in composition:

Composition of NHRC: Act here means 1993 Act. Bill means amended provisions.

  1. Under the Act (original), the chairperson of the NHRC is a person who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  The Bill (new one) amends this to provide that a person who has been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or a Judge of the Supreme Court will be the chairperson of the NHRC.
  2. The Act (original) provides for two persons having knowledge of human rights to be appointed as members of the NHRC. The Bill (new one) amends this to allow three members to be appointed, of which at least one will be a woman
  3. Under the Act (original), chairpersons of various commissions such as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and National Commission for Women are members of the NHRC. The Bill provides for including the chairpersons of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as members of the NHRC.
  4. Chairperson of SHRC: Under the Act, the chairperson of a SHRC is a person who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court.  The Bill amends this to provide that a person who has been Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court will be chairperson of a SHRC. 
  5. Term of office: The Act states that the chairperson and members of the NHRC and SHRC will hold office for five years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.  The Bill reduces the term of office to three years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.  Further, the Act allows for the reappointment of members of the NHRC and SHRCs for a period of five years.  The Bill removes the five-year limit for reappointment.  
  6. Powers of Secretary-General: The Act provides for a Secretary-General of the NHRC and a Secretary of a SHRC, who exercise powers as may be delegated to them.  The Bill amends this and allows the Secretary-General and Secretary to exercise all administrative and financial powers (except judicial functions), subject to the respective chairperson’s control.
  7. Union Territories: The Bill provides that the central government may confer on a SHRC human rights functions being discharged by Union Territories.  Functions relating to human rights in the case of Delhi will be dealt with by the NHRC.

Functions of NHRC:





Current Affair 5:
Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council


With the aim of building a strong communications channel for addressing cyber threats and sharing best practices across the participating countries, Microsoft has launched the first Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council.

Consisting of policy makers and influencers from Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, supported by cybersecurity professionals, the council aims to accelerate public-private partnerships in cybersecurity, share threat intelligence.

As part of the Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council, government agencies and state leaders will join a forum to share best practices, learn from Microsoft security certification trainings, dedicated workshops, and hands-on lab sessions, with a goal of driving improvements to the digital skills of the workforce to reduce the talent gap in cybersecurity across the participating nations.

Link: https://news.microsoft.com/apac/2021/05/31/microsoft-launches-first-asia-pacific-public-sector-cyber-security-executive-council-across-seven-markets-in-the-region/


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